Thursday, November 1, 2012

Significance of Opening up Top Level Domain Names


Believe it or not there was a time in our postal history when there was no need for zip codes. You wrote out a street address, a city, a country and your letter got to where it needed to go. The same occurred with telephones and area codes.

But, as the population increased, there was a need to find more efficient ways to sort and designate all those calls and letters. That’s what is happening now with the internet as .com domain names have reached their peak.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the entity charged with the task of controlling the World Wide Web’s naming system. Recently, ICANN announced it is taking applications for new generic top-level domains and it has businesses scrambling for a stronger positioning for their company’s interests. These new addressees are called gTLDs and refer to the end of a web address such as .com, .net or .org. There were 1,410 new gTLDs being made available and already companies are fighting with each other to snatch up those names.

The Opportunities for Businesses

Why is this important? It all comes down to a question of being found on search engines. If a company can capitalize on a domain name then they can corner a segment of the marketplace. We’re not talking about brand names such as Nike or Microsoft but instead for things like .show, .llc, .tv etc.

Even the big players are trying to get a gTLD to brand their business such as .google or .apple. This will insure that they can control their interests. Another perfect example is the Vatican which applied for dozens of variations for the .catholic gTLD.

Additionally, there is a possibility for a business to focus into a more targeted domain. For instance, with the gTLD of .ticket a business could set up a web service selling Broadway show seats at broadway.ticket or baseball.ticket or even justinbieber.ticket. All of those entities can be part of a single ticket selling organization but by using the gTLD in this way they are attempting to garner higher search engine rankings by controlling the most variations of addresses.

They still have to fill up those addresses with original content that is attractive to search engines but it’s a proactive step towards maximizing the potential of higher rankings.

The Opportunities for ICANN Entrepreneurs

It’s also a potential goldmine for a fast thinking and clever organizations or individuals to scoop up as many as those domain combinations as possible. This is sometimes referred to as “domain parking.” You register variations of domain names in the hopes that someday a company or even a personality will pay for control of that name.

There have been many instances where average internet users gazed into the “crystal ball” and predicted what domain name would be attractive. Imagine if you could register ATT.com before ATT did? However, the ICANN application fee is considerably high which can dissuade many from applying.
Although we all might be used to a .com world, those addresses just can’t sustain emerging businesses anymore. Opening up the gTLD will allow even more competition in the ecommerce marketplace and that’s a good thing for consumers.