Proposal for .sport, a New Top-Level Domain

By Patrick Vande Walle
Patrick Vande Walle

OK. Now my lawyer has given me the green light, I can officially announce I am working on a proposal for a .sport TLD, to be submitted to ICANN for consideration as a new TLD next year.

There is still a long way to go in terms of getting the proposal ready, but I this this one is a winner. First of all, sport is one of the most popular human activities. It transcends cultures. The sport community is large and diverse, from small clubs to large international federations. There is also a large industry for which sport is an essential element of its communication strategy. Think about the media. Television networks may be interested to have dedicated web sites about sport.

Unlike existing sponsored and un-sponsored TLDs, .sport is also meaningful in languages other than English. The word "sport" originates from the ancient French verb "desporter" and was later adopted by many European languages and others. "Sport" just means sport, whether in English, French, German, Dutch, Afrikaans or many others languages.

There is a provisional website at http://www.dotsport.info, developing some of the ideas above.

If you like the idea, I would of course most welcome your partnership. Let's talk about it at ICANN Paris.

By Patrick Vande Walle, All around Internet governance troublemaker. Visit the blog maintained by Patrick Vande Walle here.

Related topics: Domain Names, ICANN, Registry Services, New TLDs

Comments

Aren't all these domains losers? Larry Seltzer  –  Jun 12, 2008 3:54 PM PDT

The topical TLDs like .travel, etc.

It really depends on the model Patrick Vande Walle  –  Jun 13, 2008 12:50 AM PDT

Please define what you consider a loser TLD. I have seen small ccTLDs doing very well with only 50.000 names.

It is useful to try to understand why the sponsored TLDs were not a big success. In my opinion, the sTLD model has shown its limits. The potential registrants base is just too small. Not only because they are a kind of "by invitation only" model, but also because the strings they chose were meaningful only to a limited, English speaking, community (with the notable exception of .aero).

ICANN has some responsibility in their difficulties, too. The longer the approval process, the more money it takes to continue lobbying the ICANN community. I have heard of figures above USD 1 million, just to get a new TLD through the ICANN process, with no guarantee that it will get accepted. This places these entrepreneurs in a difficult financial position, with no cash left to invest in advertising when it is most needed. It is also difficult to find investors willing to wait 3 years before seeing a slight returrn on their investment.

The economic context in which the registry operator develops is also of importance. When local authorities stimulate investments with tax breaks and other measures, it helps a lot to make a business successful. It is certainly no coincidence that Afilias chose Ireland to as an operations base. Similarly, Luxembourg has a government policy to stimulate investment in this area, which we see as a great help to make this new TLD successful, along with a well educated, multilingual work force.

IDN TLD's, per-category TLD's etc , it is all about turning virtual bits into hard cold cash jeroen  –  Jun 17, 2008 4:15 PM PDT

This whole "idea" of extra TLD's has only one really useful thing: earning money from some virtual bits.

There is absolutely no advantage for the end-user to have http://www.football.com or http://www.football.sport or http://www.soccer.sport (which one is the one you want anyway?). This might have been working in a way 20 years ago, but for quite some time already we have this wonderful invention called Google. One will see a lot in the media as advertising "http://www.product.com", but have there ever been a study that somebody even remembers that!? I for instance don't, if I even pay attention to that ad, I remember the product name and google that, land up on wikipedia and find the link from there. It then to doesn't matter if the webpage is at http://www.product.com, or better http://www.company.com/products/product/ with the latter actually having a hierarchy.

DNS is something on the wire. We already have hierarchies where sites can be sorted in categories based on if they are global (com|net|org) or if they are for a certain region (cctld's and the silly things like .eu). Then next to that sites can also use real URL's and just use those in their own site (/products/the_product/ + /movies/thenewcoolmovie/).

The latter is also much better for PageRank, as then you will have a lot more links pointing to your single domain, and thus more trust. Adding a new product, you lift on that trust and only get better ranking. Creating a new domain and it starts at 0, just like every other domain, which is why if you are looking for a moview, IMDB is at the top, and the other big chance to find things for is in wikipedia, as all the links point to imdb.com and wikipedia, and not to the special domain and tld for that new thing.

The .xxx one is of course the biggest laugher of them all "we want it because then kids know to no go there", yeah, they will sure avoid .xxx, and they will also avoid all the other porn sites under every other TLD, or are those going to be banned all of a sudden and disappear from the Internet. Google(porn) and you probably get everything you don't want to see.

As for IDN's, they are even more preposterous, and they will just cause a 100, maybe a 1000 or even more TLD's to be created, while the user still has to to type in ENGLISH: http://, or are they going to change HTML too from Other Site into . Indeed I don't see that happen, thus what is IDN changing there, it is only the presentation that gets enhanced, they still need to type http://. To make a note, IDN is a good thing IMHO, but there is so much that is bound to English, that it makes no sense to make extra TLD's. Those extra "TLD"s can have a perfect home already under .tw, .cn, .tr and every other country that requires them as they are generally local script anyway.

Thus where exactly is the advantage for new TLD's, except for cash in the pocket of people reselling them? Money is a great thing isn't it, especially when it is virtual and just comes from selling bits. I am still amazed at how many companies are falling for that. SSL certificates are of course the even cooler example where loads of money get earned just out of thin air. Must be a couple of peoples very wet dreams when they realized that.

If there is any restructuring happening in DNS, then it should be to force hierarchy and to force that a domain that gets registered is really valuable to be included in DNS, not to add more cruft.