Posted by Jeff Ernst on June 23, 2011
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?