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The ANA and Hand-Wringing

Mason Cole

The Association of National Advertisers is at it again, this time spelling the death of new gTLDs barely after they emerge from the gate.

In 1982, at the dawn of the video age, Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti infamously told Congress, with more than one unfortunate reference to various types of violent crime, that the advent of the VCR would spell immediate and irrevocable doom to the motion picture industry, and that the device should certainly be thrown to the scrap heap even before its arrival.

It wasn't one of his better predictions, as home video sales went on to become a massive new revenue stream for Hollywood, and cornerstone of movie studios' portfolios for the next several decades. 
All of this is to say it probably makes sense to take ANA's prognostications about the new gTLD program with a giant shaker of salt. Like the MPAA was with early VCRs, the ANA has been violently and dogmatically opposed to new gTLDs for as long as it has been aware of the program. Having lost its cynical bid to kill new gTLDs in the crib, ANA has now apparently moved on to trying to hasten the program's demise, in which effort they will be equally ineffectual.

The real story of the new gTLD launch is that with minimal marketing, users around the world have registered more than two million addresses in less than nine months, and that's despite the fact that many of the most attractive, general-interest domains have yet to clear the contention and delegation process.

And contrary to the ANA's frothy rhetoric about domainers and brand protectors, back in the real world, we are seeing new gTLD addresses being put to use in new, dynamic ways every day.

ANA gleefully points out 4- and 5-figure registration numbers for some gTLDs as signs of failure, but those numbers tell a far different story. For the first time ever, domain name registrants are participating in a truly abundant market, free from the false scarcity and artificial value of the past two decades.  In less than nine months registrations and adoption have exceeded our expectations, and the best is yet to come.

In the meantime, ANA is free to continue its Chicken Little routine. Those of us with actual work to do are providing value instead of spouting tales of doom. 

By Mason Cole, VP, Communications and Industry Relations at Donuts
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