At noon London time on June 13, 2012, ICANN, the organization that oversees, among other things, the whole domain name system, will reveal the list of who is going after the new domain extensions and what those extensions are.
This may sound boring and unimportant but it’s part of a big, 6-year plan that should radically reshape the Internet. The who is not as important to the average person and the what.
You see, these are not just like the same old 27 domain extensions like we’ve had in the past, for example, the .com, .net, .info, .mobi, etc.
These domain extensions will be able to be anything and evertyhing.
The way it worked in the past is that, with advice and public comment, ICANN decided what the domain extensions would be but now, with the new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) program people can apply (and pay for) any extension they want; although it still has to be approved by ICANN.
When the system is in place and the gTLD approved — it’s expected to be no sooner than the end of 2012 — expect to see companies branding things in a very different manner than they do now.
Just Think of the Possibilities!
Will Google get .YouTube and .Search?
You bet they will because they’ve already revealed that they’ve applied for gTLDs that included .Google, .YouTube, .docs, and .lol.
Will Coca-Cola get .Coke or will Pepsi snatch it up?
Will Staples get .Paper?
How about Olive Garden getting .Pasta or Vera Wang getting .Wedding (and .WeddingDress)?
Will Great Britian get .England, .Scotland and .Wales (and will there be a battle for .Ireland)?
Will I get .Husnian or .David?
Not likely because I think the going price is in the 6-figure range per domain extension and I can’t remember if that’s a one-time fee or a recurring one.
The possibilities are endless and the limitations on having keyword rich domain names or vanity domain names may be a thing of the past (at least for a short while).
Are you salivating yet?
Wouldn’t you want Make.Money or Drive.Chevy or RunIn.Nike or Play.XBox or … let your imagination go wild?
Will It Matter?
Then again, recent domain name extensions haven’t really be wildly successful, some more than others, but .com has continued to rule but as over 100,000,000 .com domain names have been grabbed up it is feeling its age; and really did you even know there was a .museum extension already available.
Warren Adelman, CEO of Go Daddy which sells half the domain names in the world, said this about the current .com world “We’ve been living in a .com world since the dawn of the Internet. Whenever you’re doing something other than .com, it’s kind of swimming upstream.”
Note that Go Daddy has applied for some gTLDs including .home, .casa, and .GoDaddy.
This is similar to the toll free numbers of the past. Eventually pretty much all the 800 numbers were taken and the telephone companies started using others area codes like 877 and 866.
It took a while because an 800 number was consider to be a lot better than the others but eventually that passed and I don’t know if anybody even thinks about it anymore; depending upon your age you may not even know this was an issue at one point not long ago.
Some people really believe in the future of gTLD, for example, Frank Schilling, a long time domain name investor who’s made many tens of millions of dollars off the 320,000 domain names he’s purchased over the years, is investing $60 million dollars of his own money to get over 50 new names including .home and .lol.
He says, “This is absolutely the future. We’re at this point where the dot-com name space — the entire name space — is exhausted.”
And Vint Cerf, truly one of the fathers of the Internet, currently vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google and former chairman of the board of ICANN said this on his blog “Despite the great opportunities the Web has enabled for people around the world, there is still a lingering question about the diversity of the domain space.”
Dan Schlinder, a co-founder of Donuts.co says “We’ve made more than $100 million in bets” as they go after over 300 gTLDs.
Let the War Begin
During the initial round of application about 1,900 gTLDs (called strings) have been applied for.
Of course, just because someone applies for a gTLD doesn’t mean they will get it — you can bet that Pepsi will NOT get the .Coke gTLD!
It’s pretty likely that trademarks holders will have no problem so Google doesn’t need to worry about .Google (sorry Microsoft) or .YouTube but for the others expect some big battles as companies with deep pockets stake out cyberspace claims; it’s an online gold rush.
Imagine the battle for who will get .free or .game or .money or .music or .car or …
The way this will work is that ICANN will ask people who’ve applied for the same gTLD to try to work out a deal. If they can then ICANN will auction of the gTLDs to the higher bidder.
Then the Hard Part Starts
Not just anyone can sell domain names, you have to be an approved ICANN registrar and with hundreds and eventually thousands of new gTLDs becoming available the current registrars won’t be able to handle them (and they probably won’t be interested in them until they prove themselves.)
You may have noticed that the latest hot domain extension is .co but that success didn’t just happen easily overnight.
First there was the many months of work (and lots of money) getting Columbia to agree, then the millions of dollars in advertising but that wasn’t enough.
Until an agreement with Go Daddy (and 2 Super Bowl commercials later) did the company controlling .co start to turn a profit.
How this all plays out I don’t know but my guess is that, like so many other things throughout history like the toll-free numbers of the recent past, we’ll see that eventually a much greater range of domain extensions used as part of an overall branding and .com won’t be as important.
What do you think? Will .com reign as king or fade into distant memory? What domain name would you want to have? Tell me below in the comments.