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Instead of a New gTLD, Maybe There Ought to be an App for That

John Berard

The conflicting yet co-existing anxiety and enthusiasm in support of expanded Internet territory — those new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) we have heard so much about — may be misplaced. If the economic reports commissioned by ICANN are to be believed (non, nod, wink, wink), top level domains fall flat because they are either too tightly defined (.museum?) or lightly marketed (.aero?).

Building a business plan to give a new gTLD the market and marketing reach it will need to succeed is a heavy lift. The technical requirements, ICANN participation and accelerating marketing from a standing start are pre-market and persistent costs. Why not take advantage of the momentum of a pre-built platform?

You can build a community or a customer base on a new gTLD but why not build it where the future is moving — in an app on the mobile and smartphone platform.

Just a few data points:

• Mobile analytics firm, Zokem, reported last week that smartphone users were using apps at a rate a third-more often than their browser.

• Gartner, the U.S.-based industry analyst firm, estimates there will be more than 200 million tablet computers up-and-running in the next two years.

• A report from Nielson notes that that one-third of mobile phones in the U.S. are already smartphones.

• The cost of development and deployment of the wildly successful iPhone app, "Angry Birds," has been reported to be about 20 percent less than the gTLD application fee.

Any business case in support of a new gTLD will naturally include a clear objective: to support, to build, to promote, to create. In light of the way we are untethering and adopting broadband devices, rather than a gTLD, there ought to be an app for that.

By John Berard, Founder, Credible Context & CEO, Vox Populi Registry
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Related topics: Domain Names, ICANN, New TLDs, Web
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It's called Browser Wil Tan  –  Feb 22, 2011 5:02 AM PDT

Mobile apps can't be ignored in any marketing plan or branding exercise, I agree. However, I believe we're talking about different things here. The DNS is a stable, interoperable standard of the Internet that gives you an identity that can be referenced universally. Sure, you can put a bus ad that tells people "search for XYZ on the App Store", just like you can tell people to "search for XYZ on Google" or "go to the XYZ AOL keyword". With the DNS, your identity is not in the hands of a single company (often with whimsical policies.)

gTLDs shouldn't be seen as the only path John Berard  –  Feb 22, 2011 2:03 PM PDT

Totally agree with your analysis.  There are technical and business differences between operating at the level of the DNS compared to the terms & conditions of the mobile platform.  The cost and complexity is different, too.

My point is that a new gTLD need not be the only way to deliver on some of the business objectives that are emerging among potential applicants. 

In fact, for entrepreneurs who hope to deliver value-added services to a market segment or community, a mobile app might be more than a complement to a domain name registry, it might be a more effective alternative.

John Berard

Yes, there IS an APP for that Brian Retkin  –  Feb 23, 2011 5:58 AM PDT

At Dashworlds.com we offer just that.  Users can create any TLD and any Domain in any language at no cost whatsoever. 

The new Domains and TLDs are in Dashcom format (for example http://music-com or http://breaking-news or http://basket-ball). 

In addition, the APP is now supplemented by free ISP Link-Ins which will allow customers of ISPs to resolve Dashcoms at network level (ie: without the APP).

With usage and uptake growing on a daily basis, Dashcoms have users and members in over 90 countries worldwide (a significant proportion coming from China).

Well, I have specialized on TLD's very Alexander Schubert  –  Feb 23, 2011 8:33 PM PDT

Well, I have specialized on TLD's very late -End of 2004- but in the over 6 years I am lobbying for community TLD's I have learned one thing: A domain is a domain, an app is an app. App's are good tools, they facilitate the identity of an entity or stakeholdergroup.

A TLD however is something entirely different: It's an umbrella and basis for a multitude of these single identities.

A "Gay" app, or "gay.com" might be a great basis for a great communication base for the LGBT. But ".gay" could be LGBT's Identity on the Internet!

miami.com could be the home and identity for the city of Miami, Florida. But ".miami" would be the Identity for the community of the people, companies and organizations of Miami.

I can't imagine any community TLD that tries to be a simple communication base for a community. Maybe brand-TLD's. Almost all community TLD's that I have heard of thrive to create a space for special purpose identies for tens and hundreds of thousends entites.

I have been involved in the creation of .berlin, .gay, .miami and .florida and as (co-)founder of the respective applicants I can assure you: No, an app would be not only insufficient but an "Miami-App" and a ".miami" are apples and oranges.

Here some TLD's that WOULD work as an app:
".aero"
".tel"

However: Such an app would just be another app, nothing else.

Alexander Schubert
www.nicheTLDs.com

Alexander,No question that an app and a John Berard  –  Feb 24, 2011 4:09 PM PDT

Alexander,

No question that an app and a gTLD are different beasts. 

My suggestion to potential gTLD applicants that they consider an app instead is aimed only at those whose business plan can benefit from an existing platform.  This will allow more investment in marketing which, the economists would have us believe, is essential to success.

Personally, I think new gTLDs will transform the Web and the way we use it.  But for those who apply, there ought to be more to the move than "Because it is there." It worked for George Mallory on Mt. Everest, but the success curve on a new gTLD may be a steeper climb.

Domains and Fruit Brian Retkin  –  Feb 24, 2011 6:30 AM PDT

App definition: An interface implemented by a software program to enable interaction with other software, similar to the way a user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers...” (Google).  These days an App can describe almost anything - including the Internet.

In effect, Dashcoms (which are true TLDs) operate in much the same way as Dotcoms and in this case the App is simply another interface between Internet, severs, root servers and ICANN.  Furthermore, with the evolution process having been taken a step further, new Link-In systems make it possible for ISPs to resolve all Dashcoms at network level without the use of an App (an option that’s also available to ICANN).  It’s simply a matter of connecting the dots (and dashes).

But let's get down to brass tacks, with over 200 million domain names already registered (about 90 million of them dotcoms), trying to find a creative, unique, relevant and memorable address for less than a few million dollars is almost impossible.  Even if you manage to unearth something fantastic, and at a reasonable price too, ask the person next to you how many websites they can recall.  The chances are maybe 5 or 10 (and that will include the likes of Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter).  Things have to change to bring the Web back to a more level playing field.

Allowing Internet users to create free TLDs of their choice is about relevance and memorability.  Nobody wants or needs to remember 200 million web addresses (try visiting each one for just 10 seconds and you’ll be at your computer over 60 years EOE).  People only want and/or need to remember the websites that are applicable or of interest to them.  In other words, when I come back in 12 months time and ask you to recollect the domain names http://circle-id and http://high-heels, I doubt you’ll have forgotten them (even though I’ve no idea whether you’ve an interest in high heels - and I’m not telling you how I feel about them either).

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