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ICANN's New gTLDs: The Game Changers Have Landed

Naseem Javed

The day after 'reveal day' two big questions will emerge; firstly was the advertising branding world so wrong or secondly, the parties behind the proposed names so invincible and can turn their $350 million dollars into many tens of billions. To be fair the jury may be out nevertheless, here are some facts.

FACTS: Cyber-Name Branding History

The Internet was never designed to solve the global business naming problems; it was the extension of DARPA, a failsafe military communication system later adventured into public use. The napkin solution of 5 original gTLDs, dotcom, dotnet, dotgov dotedu dotmil etc. was created without any deeper understanding of global corporate nomenclature; it failed to address the global naming complexities while the subsequent gTLDs were ad hoc naming accidents. Nevertheless, the Internet has become the heart of the global economy while the domain names have become the corpuscles of name identity circulatory system. With first round showing $350 million investment just on names, the 'name-centricity topic' is climbing to the very top of the corporate agenda. The new face of global domain expansion will also provide a powerful base to domain registrar and registries to play their role at the heart of corporate image and brand planning. Agencies hate this.

FACTS: Worldwide Name Identity Erosion

As one example, the top 100 highly diluted names, like National, Premier or United are being used by some 100 million businesses around the world. The wasted advertising and global litigation costs of conflict management are staggering. The combined global advertising expenditures are 450 billion dollars annually while global trademark practices are equally dependent on this state of chaos.

On the other hand, all along, including today, the internet never had any value without a domain name; as it's the only device that opens the website and as such the 'power of domain name' has made it the fastest and simplest global application towards e-commerce. Today's 'domain name expansion' and multilingualization are not only the best logical solutions they are also perceived as a big threat to the centuries old trademarking procedures. How will all these issues integrate? Heavily litigious thinking dominates the global naming landscape over correct naming procedures.

* * *

The Opportune Times – The most opportune time to jump start new name identities for the upper stratosphere has arrived. But first we must discover the new space and acquire knowledge on how to play. Not all names can skate here. The global tools are available to create the right media mix to take the right name identity to the very top. The biggest opportunities lie in exposing the organizations of the mega changes and highlighting the power shifts with new angles to market domination via name identity. Advertising and branding agencies can play vital roles along with trademark firms.

If first application window is any measurement; Donuts outsmarts all by investing $100 million and applying for 307 names, TLDH poised for 92, while Google goes for 50. Directi of India jingling $30 millions in change goes for 31 names. Well done folks and well done ICANN. What do 'dot canon' or 'dot deloitte', 'dot sucks', 'dot nyc' or 'dot lol' have in common? Who will own the best winning and not so healthy name identities? The gTLD reality show will take over.

The Big Dilemma for Domain Registries, Registrars and Domainers – What level of educational support and guidance will they offer to ever expanding customer base? How will they bypass the advertising and branding stronghold on mega brand deals? Where, when and how will they fully engage as name identity power brokers? What level of corporate nomenclature issues will their frontlines teams handle? How far will they assist in name identity domination vs. cyber-squatting? When will they be open minded enough to face up to the 'real name evaluation' test?

The Big Dilemma for the gTLD Applicants of the World – How many different ways can they catapult their name identities to achieve desired goals? Will the power of their name identity grow or shrink in time and how are they prepared to tackle such issues? What levels of pricing structures provide the right balance and long term profitability? Where should they park and position their name identities on the 'tower of names'? How to create real power for 'generic' names in a trademarked world?

However, with the right application and name behind it, a gTLD can be the fastest and most economical maneuver to acquire a distinct global identity. Global advertising and branding services perceive this as a threat. The attention and power will shift from creative copy and art directors to registries and registrars. Nevertheless, the game changers have landed.

By Naseem Javed, Expert: Global Naming Complexities, Corporate Nomenclature, Image & Branding. He is the founder of ABC Namebank, author of 'Domination: The GTLD Name Game', syndicated columnist, keynote speaker and specialist on global naming complexities.

Related topics: Domain Names, ICANN, Multilinguism, Top-Level Domains, Web

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And we can take our ball and Phil Howard  –  Jun 17, 2012 8:44 AM PDT

And we can take our ball and go home.  Game over.  It's called alternate roots, or just run your own root server if you are technically inclined (if you can configure and compile a BSD or Linux kernel, you can run a root server ... at least a few million people are capable).  We'll see how this mess turns out.  I suspect a resurgence of alternate root providers (read that as an entirely new space that ICANN't control).

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