Game On! TLDs Start to Roll

After several years of planning, policy making, strategy formation and more than a $1-billion invested (some suggest it’s more like $2-billion and growing), the mainstream media has started to shine the spotlight on the great domain name space expansion as the first TLDs begin to hit retail shelves.

In simple terms, the Internet will see hundreds of new domain names that will change how brands approach their online marketing and selling activities. Rather than using .com, for example, a company such as Nike could establish a strong digital and brand presence by using .nike. Think of the possibilities for new ideas and innovation, as well as the opportunities to outflank competitors.

Truth be told, the domain space often gets a sullied name as nefarious players take advantage of unsuspecting Internet users by duping them into thinking they are on trusted brand sites. In other cases, domain squatters grab expired in error names and then attempt to sell them back to original registrants for massive profits. It is too bad but such is the ‘World Wild Web.’ Buyer beware.

Consider how the name domain space expansion will alleviate some of these issues.

First, due to the limited stock on popular extensions such as .com and .net, the supply and demand equation does not favour new or evolving businesses seeking short, memorable and relevant Internet addresses for their business initiatives. This scarcity creates imbalance and favours the savvy that can outmaneuver rivals and businesses.

Let’s be clear, many domain players are ethical investors who have invested and tied up risk capital for years. Like any other risk capital investor, these are investors who we value because they are helping to create new markets.

Still, the supply/demand equation does not favour the SMB operator or the brand-marketing manager. With an expansion in supply, new domain options that best represent business initiatives will be available, registered and deployed. This is a very good thing.
Second, brands who have for years been forced to allocate ‘throwaway’ capital to defend their marks now have the opportunity to anchor on a proprietary .brand ecosystem that is secure, authoritative and controlled. No one can infringe on the .brand owned name space.

Consumers will know that if it is a .brand domain, it is authentic and can be trusted.
There will certainly be growing pains as brands move to protect themselves in an expanded domain universe. But as brands start to realize the benefits of .brand, they will grasp how the domain name expansion is an opportunity to take back control of their online presence, build proprietary ecosystems, market and deliver services to customers through partners and channels in a name space that is trusted.

As important, each dollar they invest in .brand, will yield residual ROIs for years to come, as opposed to continuing to throw money at broad defensive measures that will simply not work.

The taxonomy of the Internet is changing forever…. and that’s a good thing. Stayed tuned!