Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ICANN's gTLD scheme could change the domain name game for companies and inviduals

ICANN has created a stir by selling new gTLD’s, closely connected to specific kinds of services or products.  The application phase (it  costs $185000 to apply) ends now, and here is ICANN’s plan for what comes next, link.

The Washington Post has a constructive editorial Tuesday critical of the idea.  One main fear is that companies will feel  “defensively” compelled to create TLD’s to strengthen their own trademarks, but not accomplishing anything of value for consumers.  Another objection is that some TLD’s could bemuse competition.  (Who will get “.grocery”?)

Still another is that corporate owners (for example, should Amazon get “.book”) could have undue influence on smaller businesses or individuals who purchase domain names with the TLD’s from them.

Back in the late 1990s, there were emerging debates on whether “.com” is overused, and could represent individuals with no commercial mass on an equal playing field with whole companies.  Search engines didn’t care.  And the use of “.org” and “.net” was certainly loose. 

The Washington Post editorial (“New Internet domain names may make for a more tangled Web”) is here

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