More and more geographic locations or cities are seeing merit in new gTLDs — and it's not just the leading cities of the world who are applying. So far, a combination of 34 continents (Africa -.africa), regions (Venetia - .vtn), countries (Scotland - .sco), territories (Yorkshire - .yks), provinces (Leon - .lli), states (Bavaria - .bayern) and cities (London - .london) have announced their intention to bid when ICANN opens its applications. And why wouldn't they given their unique position of being able to apply for a stake in internet history and an opportunity to invest in the future of its people, its culture and the prospect of developing a true global presence — and let's not forget the potential to generate a significant revenue stream if they so desire.
Many applicants are putting up websites trying to create a sense of pride and community support.
However, recently we've noticed a trend emerging with regard to City TLDs where prospective applicants are spending time and money setting up businesses and marketing the City TLD to gather support, whilst neglecting to previously obtain the necessary approval from the relevant government authority. A giant oversight one would assume given this approval is a strict ICANN requirement.
Significant amounts of money are being spent to market these new City TLDs, so, boldly publicising your intentions in the hopes that other prospective applicants will be scared off or that governments have no alternative but to back your application is a brave move indeed.
ICANN have invested substantial effort into ensuring the comments of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) are reflected into the application process for new gTLDs and without the support or approval from the relevant government authority, the application will not pass through the evaluation procedures.
This week the Greenspun Corporation of Las Vegas, who own and operate the website vegas.com, found themselves dealing with this situation (article), having found out only two weeks ago that another entity, Dot Vegas Inc had been in discussions with the Las Vegas City Council for the past six months regarding support for the dotVegas TLD. To add insult to injury, the matter was voted on at its most recent council meeting and whilst the Greenspun Corporation protested that the council should have sought outside bids, Las Vegas City Council went ahead and voted in favour of Dot Vegas Inc, providing them with support for their bid to ICANN. (Something about an early bird and a worm comes to mind here).
Meanwhile, the heavily publicised City TLD applicant and long-time new TLD proponent, dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG, are still none the wiser as to whether the City of Berlin will support their bid. With another recent applicant, Unite Berlin, competing for the same Government approval, this must also be a worrying time for both companies who have already invested a substantial amount of time and money into their campaigns.
So, some timely words of advice for potential applicants from AusRegistry International who have spent the last year or so working with a variety of Governments around the world.
Draw up a strong business case for your City TLD then present it to the relevant government authorities ASAP. It's important that Governments are given ample time to consider a proposal and allowed to follow their correct procedures and protocols. Whatever the case, time is the most important consideration, so don't get caught up in the detail as much as taking direct and positive action with the stakeholders and getting that all important stamp of approval.
See the details of our geoTLD program here.
Written by Maggie Whitnall, Business Development Consultant for AusRegistry International
About ARI Registry Services
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