CMOs Need To Look At New Domains As An Opportunity, Not A Trademark Protection Nuisance

The look of the Internet is about to go through a major transformation now that ICANN, the organization that oversees the web name space, has approved the plan to introduce new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Instead of being limited to domain names that end in the familiar dot-com, dot-net, and others, companies will be able to put their brand name or category to the right of the dot. So Marriott Hotels could apply for .marriott or even .hotel. The city of London plans to operate .london.

There's been a lot of debate about whether there's a need for TLDs, with many marketers arguing that there's nothing you can do with a dot-brand that you can't do with a brand dot-com. What these people are missing is that you are not just applying for another web address; you are applying for the right to operate a domain registry at the root of the Internet, which opens up all kinds of new business opportunities.

I explored some of these new opportunities for Forbes in a blog post on the CMO Network . I go even further on what this means for marketers and what I predict will happen with TLDs in the next few years in my new report, "CMOs Must Drive Their Firms' Domain Strategy Now."

What do you think? Is this a nuisance, a solution without a need, a way to get more control of brand, or a business opportunity?



New Domain Opportunities....But Not For You....

As ICANN won't allow applications from individuals or sole proprietorships, effectively ignoring the interests and needs of the majority of Internet users worldwide. Add to this equation non-refundable fees of $185,000 per TLD (plus potentially unlimited annual costs/expenses) and how many new ICANN TLDs will actually see the light of day?

ICANN's main aims are to convince Internet users that they're the only game in town and then try to herd everyone into a tiny part of an otherwise infinite universe. In this respect, ICANN has been quite successful. However, it's rather like telling people that the only place they can shop on the entire planet is the Safeway store in Redmond, Oregon and that there's really nowhere else to go. Of course this is nonsense and so it’s understandable that people are now looking at the Alternatives.

Alternatively, anyone can now create their own set of Top Level Domains (in any language) at no cost and without reference to ICANN, simply by opting to register NON-ICANN Dashcom (not Dotcom) domain names. Dashcoms are highly memorable & relevant web addresses such as "business-com", "music-store", “basket-ball”.

Here is a part of the Internet that’s totally outside ICANN's control yet able to exist quite happily alongside it. At present, resolution is via an APP, but new ISP links are coming online to negate that need. It is only a matter of time before other new options surface, and none of them will have anything to do with ICANN.


Is there any new thinking from Forrester on this? Most marketers are vehemently opposed to this new program, but we may well need to live with it. Honestly, I'm just not even sure domains matter as much anymore what w/FB, apps, etc. - Pete Blackshaw