New .anything Domains will lead to the “Silent Privatisation of the Web” claims Names.co.ukReported by PRWeb on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 (on June 13, 2012)
Names.co.uk, one of the UK’s top domain name registrars, has today argued that the new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) could lead to a privatisation of the web. The new domains, which are being co-ordinated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), are currently being bid on by super brands expected to include Internet heavy weights Amazon, eBay and Google.
London, UK (PRWEB UK) 13 June 2012
Names.co.uk (http://names.co.uk), one of the UK’s top domain name registrars, has today argued that the new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) could lead to a privatisation of the web. The new domains, which are being co-ordinated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), are currently being bid on by super brands expected to include Internet heavy weights Amazon, eBay and Google.
ICANN was originally expected to announce on Monday 30th April those companies who have applied for unique .anything domain name extensions, but this date was delayed after issues with application security and the list of applicants will now be revealed on June 13th. The process itself involves parties completing a 349-page form and incurring an initial application cost of $185,000.
From 2013, Names.co.uk expects over 2,000 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) to start to become available in release batches. This high barrier to entry is driving a ‘silent privatisation’ which, although designed to stimulate innovation and keep the number of names under control, could squeeze out small players without the capital to join the process.
Stephen Ewart, Marketing Manager for Names.co.uk, explained: “We think that the new .anything domain name is the biggest thing to happen to the Internet since its inception. It’s a very bold move from ICANN to go from launching one or two domain name extensions a year to opening up hundreds of Top Level Domain names in this way. For the first time ever, we will see brands having complete control over their own gTLD. We will be watching with interest to see what their mission statement will say on how they plan to use this slice of Internet space. Our concern is that this could lead to more Facebook-style walled gardens as big brands seek to keep you in their own areas of the Internet. Make no mistake, this change to the domain name world will lead to more competition and consumer choice, but it could also be viewed as a silent privatisation of the web – for better or worse.”
** New products revealed **
Those bidding for new domains have to prepare a mission statement for ICANN to explain how they plan to use their Top Level Domain. For brands like Amazon, Google and IBM this may make for interesting reading, revealing new products or services these brands have up their sleeves. This could also give an idea as to what top Internet brands are planning to do in the future online, especially as the next chance to apply for a .anything is in 2-3 years’ time at the earliest.
** Risk of success **
With more than 300 TLDs available already, brands that successfully bid for their gTLD will have to carefully grow an audience for their domain. Early pioneers of specialist Top Level Domains such as .travel, launched in 2006, are an example of how difficult it can be to encourage consumers to adopt a new extension. .travel has had just tens of thousands of registrations since its initial introduction to the open market – this compares to .uk which recently passed the 10 millionth registration.
Stephen Ewart adds; “The .travel extension was supposed to be the new home for an entire industry, but the reality is .travel represents less than 0.1% of our domain base and consumer awareness is almost zero. We can expect a small number of new extensions to capture the imagination of consumers and be a success, as well as a lot of failures with many new extensions falling at the first hurdle, just as we’ve seen with .name and .travel in the past.”
** .google happening despite web warning **
Google founder Sergei Brin recently warned “web freedom faces its greatest threat ever,” explaining that walled gardens such as Facebook and Government restrictions had, “put the genie back in the bottle.” In March, Matt Cuttes, Google’s head of search spam, wrote on his Google+ page “Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don't expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn't bet on that happening in the long-term either.” Ironically Google is one company who has publically announced their bids and their intention to launch a .lol extension in the past fortnight.
Names.co.uk domain expert Stephen Ewart explains: “In these days of heavy litigation in the tech sector, it seems natural that Google will use its financial war chest to buy up Top Level Domains and has publically confirmed that .google. youtube and .docs are on the application list. It will be interesting to see what they then do with .google and if this puts the user in a Google World where they cannot access other services so easily. I would love to have been in the room when Google agreed to apply for .lol. This is a stroke of genius and clearly Google will be fostering a lot of creative and fun content to make ‘laughing out loud’ a part of Google brand, but what remains to be seen is, who will Google let in? Like any Domain Registry, brand owners will be setting their own rules and so it would be naive to think that all new extensions will be a free for all.”
** Super brands changing their minds? **
In November 2011, a letter to the US Department of Commerce was sent by a group of influential US organisations and brand giants including Coca-Cola, Dell and Johnson & Johnson which raised objections on the grounds that brand holders, ‘…would be forced to spend ever-greater amounts of time and resources simply to protect their brands.’ Many corporations already engage specialist consultants to help develop a domain name strategy protecting their most important assets, meaning this job is only going to become even more involved as the number of extensions climbs dramatically. Kelly Salter, Domain Product Specialist at Names.co.uk said: “It will be interesting to note if brands that previously objected have now taken the decision to throw the towel in and apply in the interests of intellectual property.”
** Applications list revealed soon **
All eyes will be on the application list when this is revealed on Wednesday June 13th. To keep updated on this subject and to access a direct link to the ICANN application list, go to http://www.names.co.uk/gtlds.html
Names.co.uk provides professional online services for businesses and individuals including Web Hosting, Domain Name Registration, Email services, Ecommerce solutions and Business Servers. Names.co.uk has over 15 years’ experience in the Internet industry and employs a team of nearly 200 expertly trained individuals across the UK.
Names.co.uk is part of the Dada Group, an international group of companies who specialise in providing professional Internet services. As a group, they currently have over 1.8million domains registered in over 250 extensions and over 490,000 clients using their products and services.
For more information please see http://www.names.co.uk
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