The Big Bang in Domain Names Is Coming

The world of top-level domains is about to expand radically, and marketers need to think hard about what the impact on their brands might be.
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3/3/2011 | (8) comments
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Baruch Hecht
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Professor
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I know. That's exactly why ICANN needs to have rules. I am assuming ICANN is creating these new domains in order to improve the process of registering names- but if there's no rules, what's the point of the names?!?!?

Mitch Wagner
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Re: Domain mess
Mitch Wagner   3/6/2011 11:13:44 PM
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Reminds me of the authenticated sender proposal to stop spam a few years ago. The idea was that Wells Fargo could apply to have their servers authenticated for the  domain WellsFargo.com, and then recipients would know that the email was legitimate. 

However, there would be nothing to stop phishers from registering WellsFargoChecking.com, WellsFargoSavings.com, etc., and staying in business. 

kdawson
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Re: Mayhem is coming...
kdawson   3/6/2011 2:02:27 PM
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Here's another reason why the top-level domain (TLD) expansion proposal is so troublesome -- there wasn't room to mention it in the video. ICANN's Government Advisory Committee, which is one branch of the input ICANN's board of directors receives, was discussing and recently voted on a proposal that would have applied an unheard-of layer of censorship on the creation of new TLDs. The proposal was not adopted. It would have allowed any government in the world to object to any TLD without giving a reason. As long as no other nation objected to the objection, that TLD could not be created. Now that this proposal is not going to be implemented, some observers expect a fragmentation of the Internet to result.

Let's say that Lower Slobistan cannot stand the idea of dot-ACME existing on the Internet, because "acme" happens to be the most dire of imprecations in the local language. Without the ability to veto the creation of dot-ACME, Lower Slobistan may well be tempted to set up their own DNS root servers that omit any record for dot-ACME. Multiply by 251 or so countries and you have a whole lot of people unable to get to a whole lot of (different pieces of) the Internet.

kdawson
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Re: Mayhem is coming...
kdawson   3/5/2011 12:53:24 PM
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Baruch -- the likely scenario is as follows: Acme Corp. of Ohio puts up its $175K and applies to register dot-ACME. So does Acme Inc. in Indiana and Acme Ltd. in Cheltenham and Acme Co. in Brazaville. ICANN's process selects a winner by whatever their rules are (first to file? largest company? who knows?). Then all the losers file lawsuits in the US. All the losers appeal all the way to SCOTUS. 7 years later, dot-ACME goes live and nobody, but nobody, cares. Tens to hundreds of millions of dollars have been squandered.

Baruch Hecht
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Mayhem is coming...
Baruch Hecht   3/5/2011 11:31:32 AM
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It definitely will be a problem if anyone with 175k can buy dot whatever they like. There must be some sort of rules or it will become chaotic. In France for example, you cannot reserve .fr if you have no relation to the name you are trying to buy- and the process is pretty thorough. You need to prove, with INC. paperwork, that you own the company. If ACME would incorporate such a rule, that would prohibit people fro buying .cocacola or .apple.But what about .shoes or .clothes?!?!? Should the name just go to highest bidder?  

I am not sure if ACME is banking on the fact that because it's so costly to get a dot whatever you want, for that reason, people will be discouraged to apply for domain names that have no relevance to them. But if that is the case, the 175k I don't think is a strong enough factor which will discourage people from buying a domain name that has no relevance to them. This story is definitely worth following.


cmophil
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Re: Domain mess
cmophil   3/4/2011 9:31:02 PM
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I agree but people are paranoid that competitors of spoof sites will tarnish their brand or image. So in effect, you buy everything that might be pawned or 'stolen' by others.

kdawson
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Re: Domain mess
kdawson   3/4/2011 12:17:33 PM
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Mitch -- that's part of what I meant about how protecting brands is going to get orders of magnitude crazier.

It's going to be a game of building walls in a space in which there is always one more dimension. There will always be a way around.

Say some domain operator wins the right to develop dot-VEGAS. They can't jus sit back and watch the money roll in -- how do they prevent others from developing dot-SLOTS and dot-ROULETTE? They can't.

The hat? Thanks. Bad hair day.

Mitch Wagner
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Domain mess
Mitch Wagner   3/4/2011 12:07:33 PM
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And that's not all the mess. Companies will have to reserve their brand on every single top-level domain, just to avoid cybersquatters and "sucks" sites. Just as they now have to reserve their domains on .com .org .edu. .biz, they'll have to reserve it on every other domain as well. 

Why do we still have TLDs anyway? There was a time when they meant something, but they don't anymore. .Com doesn't mean a company is necessarily a business, .org doesn't mean it's a not-for-profit.

And don't even get me started on national domains. .ly doesnt' mean the organization is Libyan. It does mean that if Moammar Qaddafi doesn't like you, he can take your domain down willy-nilly (for as long as he's in power -- is he gone yet?)

At this point, we should let domains be any arbitrary string of unique characters. Acme would just be "Acme" on the Web, or, if that's reserved, "AcmeCorp" or "AcmeShops" or something like that. 

Great video, Keith! Love the hat and the Big Bang metaphor!

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