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ICANN New gTLD Program SWOT Analysis: OPPORTUNITIES (Part 3)

Jean Guillon

The SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture (source Wikipedia).

OPPORTUNITIES

1. For Registries (new gTLD applicants: brands and non brands):

a) New gTLD applicants to sell domain names = earn cash. When Registrars of the Registry's accredited network sells 1000 domain names at the price of at $5, the Registry earns $5000;
b) Owning a Top-Level Domain is a monopoly situation. The applicant "governs" an entire market (worldwide) = earn cash;
c) Brand TLDs have until round 2 to take advantage of their string and expand their presence over their competitor(s) who did not apply. Their competitor(s) can just sit and wait for Round 2;
d) Brand TLDs may want to change their application in the future to sell domain names and earn cash. Most of the time, a contract can be changed at ICANN after it's gone through the "public comments" phase…
e) Possibility of intra group cash flow transfer (cf. Google or Facebook situation in France.) (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
f) Possibility to benefit from innovation and to apply them (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
g) Possibility to attract customers and to maintain them within your brand reach (if I find everything within .apple why should I leave it if it could be my favorite page (Jean-François Vanden Eynde)?
h) Possibility to perform some joint venture and associate my brand to a specific event or sport (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
i) Possibility to hide my online strategy as I will be able to activate and deactivate domain names at any time (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
j) Build customer trust and avoid cyber squatting (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
k) Benefit from being a pioneer in my field (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
l) Applicant will not be subject to cyber squatting under their own TLD (Jean-François Vanden Eynde).

2. For Service providers (Back-end registries, law firms...):

a) Back-end registry providers to earn much more cash as most of their business model is based on the number of domain names sold by new gTLD applicants: the more domain names are sold, the more cash gets in. They will probably be the one to earn most of the money from this first round.
b)Specialized law firms. The New gTLD Program will provide opportunities for a variety of different professions, most notably the legal profession. Trade mark attorneys have a unique opportunity to harness their expertise and expand their scope of services by providing enforcement solutions to Trademarks owners who seek to resolve domain name disputes that will arise with each new gTLD launch (Daniel Greenberg).
A huge market is opening to Law firms:
- The Trademark Clearinghouse: their clients will need to participate in Sunrise Periods and "protect" themselves. For this, they will need to understand how to do this and register in the TMCH.
- URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension Procedure): with so many new domain names, expect many infringements too.
- The same applies to other very specific ICANN procedures: complaints to ICANN, Objections, PICS procedure, RRDRP procedure, PDDRP procedure…
- Webinars.
c) Same goes for digital marketing. It will help companies to offer online services in general not only law firms (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
d) New gTLD consultants: the ICANN new gTLD program's organized mess is an opportunity for consultants to hunt clients for round 2 with updates on procedures, prices, service providers, etc…
e) Entrepreneurs: many applicants from round 1 strongly believe they will sell millions of domain names...but most won't probably go above 50 000. The business model based on 2 to 3% of a population may not find the success expected since most of the Registries think their Registrars are going to do the sales job. Many strings with potential have not been requested in Round 1, niche markets on small TLDs may be a better solution in Round 2 if applicants do the necessary field work upfront. A 50 000 domain names Registry to become a success in the future?
f) Possibility to extend services to a one stop shop for round 2 (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
g) Possibility to see new comers building their own services. This will increase competition and help drop pricing in round 2 (Jean-François Vanden Eynde).

3. For ICANN:

a) ICANN has the opportunity to work with global regulatory bodies, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office, to define how ALL public roots will be regulated, not just ICANN. ICANN should work with global governments to establish top level domains as a legal business class so that trademark law can be applied to Top Level Domains. This would get ICANN out of the business of defining trademark protections for the Top Level Domain industry and back INTO the business of approving new registry operators. ICANN should not do both (Mary Iqbal).
b) Earn A LOT of cash;
c) Icann will hopefully learn from its mistake (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
d) Icann way of working might change with the intervention of brand owners and ip lawyers who will defend their interests (Jean-François Vanden Eynde).

4. For Registrars:

a) More domain names to offer to their clients: every new gTLD launching is an opportunity to contact an existing client and sell him something;
b) Niche Registrars may develop: sports and wine Registries for example;
c) Distinction will also be made between b2b registrars and b2c registrar (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
d) TMCH could also become a golden egg to registrar (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
e) Possibility for some of them to go more into consultancy and strategy (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
f) Registrar might specialized because they might not be blue to go for prepayment for all tlds. We might see some niche registrar (Jean-François Vanden Eynde).

5. For Registrants:

a) An opportunity for develop online identities with precision using more descriptive domain names;
b) By introducing new TLD strings, a wide range of audiences can be reached using the DNS (Domain Name System) to include communities having languages using non latin/roman alphabets. IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) are one example of being able to provide this expanded reach to the DNS (RJ Glass - AmericaAtLarge.ORG;
c) For Brands and other organizations the possibility is offered to acquire a better (and nicer) domain name to then redirect the old .COM to it (ex: château-latour.vin).
d) Brands are given the opportunity to secure their strings in the Trademark Clearinghouse for future launchings so they can participate in all Sunrise phases and be alert if one intends to register their string as a domain name;
e) Registrant might get some free domains associated to one brands jef@bmw if I buy a new car with all services associated (Jean-François Vanden Eynde);
f) Benefit from innovation of registries (Jean-François Vanden Eynde).

6. For Domainers (they buy domain names to re-sell them):

a) Domainers are always the first one informed about new launchings and what is the best and efficient way to acquire a domain name. With so many new domain names to acquire and so much money to spend, there will be opportunities to acquire generic domain names. Sports new gTLDs should interest domainers: just city names could offer very good opportunities.
b) Domaining offers a serious return on investment for new gTLD applicants who need to earn cash fast. Domainers buy for speculative reasons: the intention is to buy at the cheapest price and sell at a highest.

7. For CyberSquatters (they buy domain names to try to re-sell them to owners with a prior right...or not):

a) Same as usual: they will continue to exist and proliferate as their is no better mechanism in place to block them;
b) A choice of domain name enlarged by the number of new gTLD applications.

To come: THREATS (Part 4)

By Jean Guillon, New generic Top-Level Domains' specialist
Related topics: New TLDs
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