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New Web Addresses - Start of Domain Turf War?

I just read this post in USA today - New Web Address endings could be start of turf wars.

The article is talking about the possibility of opening Top Level Domains to anything from .a to .z. I could get scott.murphy. Or TechHui could change from to Tech.hui.

I'm not sure the benefits of an open TLD name space outweigh the drawbacks. As the article suggests, there are trademark issues that corporations need to deal with and an open TLD name space will make it much more costly and time consuming to protect brands. In addition, from a marketing point of view, I think it can be very confusing with so many different extensions and finally, how will it affect the value of .com and existing domains? I wasn't so fortunate to buy out valuable domains names ten years ago but I know people who did. What will happen to the value of those domains? Will it be liquidated?

I understand that the lack of .com and top-level domains make it difficult for new businesses to enter the market. However, I'm not sure if it is necessary to open domains from .a to .z at this time.

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Comment by Scott Murphy on April 8, 2009 at 9:39am
Laurence, Alyssa, Mika, Brian - I'm glad we all agree.
Dave - That's an interesting insight. It will be interesting in seeing how this all plays out in the future.
Comment by Dave Takaki on April 8, 2009 at 7:17am
While at SDC Hawaii LLC I tried to explain the explosive upside to being connected to a TLD registrar (.mp), but it went over their heads. Now us little people may have the opportunity to make history while creating a "brand" of their own. I hear the tribal tom toms thumping in the not too distant future...
Comment by Dave Takaki on April 8, 2009 at 7:10am
For many, if not most ccTLDs, the market died off in 2008. Dot Asia is a notable exception. Perceived value and trading remains strong in ccTLDs connected to large populations with an affluent economy relative to say Tanzania's. Although interest and sales are still strong in the .com sector, it too has leveled off.

Laurence is correct in addressing "Qui bono?". The handful of dominating registrars still make money. Even so, some, like GoDaddy do not pursue a purely registrar business model. ICANN is in a different category.

The real heads up has to do with corporations registering and paying to be a TLD. Watch this closely as it evolves through the second half of 2009.

Do I share security concerns? You Betcha. Do I see tremendous opportunity for the "little guy?" Frake, yes.
Let's say the process would run say, $500,000. That's low enough threshold that individuals banding together can "own" their TLD. As the registrar, such a group has the freedom to set up their own rules (laws) and codes of conduct. They can do things like having a stronger vetting process when registering, somewhat analogous to what Verisign and other vendors of SSLs do. Which leads me to the ability of a new TLD to require a EV SSL for ALL members.

This means that the ability to communicate via a VPN within the TLD could become automated. I predict that banks will be early adopters, seeking to create their own private garden. I'm not saying that security risks are banished, far from it. But if you open your mind, the upside becomes tantalizing...

When people band together and self organize beyond national borders, control advertising within their domain and draw off revenues, first to pay for admin costs, and then later, for "causes", setting up a TLD venture cap, hell, the possible permutations are boggling.

I predict that this may be the beginnings of an electronic society that transcends national boundaries and, to some extent, jurisdictions. Web Nation beckons...
Comment by Mika Leuck on April 7, 2009 at 5:49pm
I think people will only care about .com for a long time. I agree that this just causes companies to spend more money to protect their brand.
Comment by Alyssa K on April 7, 2009 at 3:48pm
I imagine all the domain names that have good content, page rank and history will maintain their value.
Comment by Laurence A. Lee on April 7, 2009 at 1:21pm
It's the ICANN and Registrars just looking to make a buck. It's bad enough I'd need to buy up the doppleganger domains (.net, .org, .info, and common mis-spellings) in order to protect a corporation's trademark. Opening up TLDs just adds fuel to the fire, and gives more opportunities for CyberSquatters to cause more irritation.

Furthermore, there's nothing that prevents another company from setting up their own DNS Servers and issuing their own top-level domains. With enough market penetration to get people to switch their DNS Servers, such an alternative could be an interesting alternative.

I recall something like this was (famously?) tried a few years back, but they failed because they used malware -- a "free" browser toolbar, I believe -- to establish their base. probably has enough of a market share to pull it off, but thankfully they're run by white-hats.

We already have saturation in Search Engine results. Do we really need that in TLDs? Why not just assign everyone a GUID as their domain name, and let the search engines have at it? Surely we can get by with Meta Keywords and Descriptions to cue the search engine spiders. Everyone has their favorite method of bookmarking by now, anyway.


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