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Can Plural and Singular New gTLDs Both Be Successful?

Michael Berkens

Now that ICANN has stuck to its guns and only placed 4 new gTLD's strings that look confusingly similar into contention sets, rather than those that sound identical, such as .inc and .ink or those that have the same meaning like .Law and .Lawyer or those that are singular and plurals of the same word, like .deal and .deals, we now that many new gTLD's are going to have a very a tough marketing road and face a lot of consumer confusion.

Not only will the new gTLD strings have to sell themselves to the public as alternatives to incumbent TLD's and ccTLD's but they will have to separate themselves from other new gTLD's that will be fighting in the same vertical for seemly the same customers with almost the same String.

Here are some new gTLD strings that will not only have to compete for the same vertical but possibly a real problem is separating themselves away a very close alternative:

.Law/.Lawyers.Game/.Games.New/.News
.Hotel/.Hotels.Gift/.Gifts.Realestate/.Realty/.Realtor
.Car/.Cars.Host/.Hosting.Secure/.Security
.Coupon/.Coupons.Insure/.Insurance.Sport/.Sports
.Deal/.Deals.Kid/.Kids.Shop/.Shopping
.Fish/.Fishing.Loan/.Loans.Tech/.Technology
.Film/.Movies.Photo/.Photography.Web/.Webs
.Site/.Website

The question is can two or more gTLD's in many cases separated just by being singular or plural of the same a generic word both be successful in the marketplace.

Beyond the challenges of selling say a .deal from a .deals, what will be end users reactions? How much confusion has ICANN allowed to be created down the line. Will consumers really be able to get it right when they see or hear an ad for sale.deal without confusing it with sale.deals or deal.sales?

Of course there is still the objection period which doesn't close until March 13th under which applicants can object to other applications; the Initial Evaluation of applications which should start to be released this month and there are still the GAC objections.

ICANN certainly followed its own guidelines for setting contention strings as laid out in the Guidebook, ICANN should have defined contension sets differently in a way to place such really similar strings into the same contention set so that there would only be one surviving string that are many times simply separated by a "s".

By Michael Berkens, President of Worldwide Media, Inc.. Michael H. Berkens is a member of the Florida Bar, President of Worldwide Media, Inc. which owns over 75,000 domain name, a Director in RightoftheDot.com and writes a blog at TheDomains.com.

Related topics: ICANN, Policy & Regulation, Top-Level Domains

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