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Saturday, November 16, 2013

With the new gTLDs... Everyone Wins.

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

After several years of planning-  ICANN (the Internets governing body) did open up applications for proposed new gTLDs. They received over 1900 applications and are likely to introduce around 1000 new domain name extensions when the smoke clears.

There are two schools of thought swirling around the Internet (and often colliding)  regarding the prospective success of the new domain extensions.

The first is that the new domain extensions (such as .shop, .web, .books, .music, .online, .app etc. etc. etc.) are the best thing that ever happened to the Internet. That opportunities will abound for the new registries and new domain name extensions. That the sky will be the limit for the new applications that are being developed and will be developed for the use of these new domain extensions.

The competing school of thought is that there are already 22 Global Top Level Domain Name extensions. They are listed here: .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, .edu, .gov, .mil,  .int, .aero, .asia, .cat, .coop, .jobs,.mobi, .museum, .name, .pro, .post, .tel, .travel, .xxx.  That this list of domain extensions has already met with only a  mixed degrees of success regarding each individual extension. That with 22 current gTLDs that there is a very good argument that there is already too many. Some will argue that for example many of the extensions have already failed. The most often targeted extensions for this accusation are .mobi, .biz, .info, and .name.

Those are two totally divergent viewpoints. Two viewpoints that are both very popular around the Internet.

Which argument is right?

Well of course they both are.

First of all as far as the "old standby" domain name extensions such as. .net, .org and .com. go. They will remain big, bigger and biggest into the forseeable future. First of all .net is the natural extension for the Internet and has a huge head start on the new extensions. It is an extension that will remain big and potentially get much more popular. .Org is reserved for non-profit. That extension is established as well. No worries for that extension either. .Org will remain the premium extension for non-profit organizations.

As for .com which stands for commercial.   Of the currently 250 million registered domain names, over 100 million are .com. That extension is at the top of the food chain and there it will stay. Let me ask you one question to settle that point. What company or person would invest any significant amount of money or time in a domain name with the new extensions without owning the .com version as well? No one in their right mind would. With that settled I have a few more points.

There are 300 some country code names such as .cn for China. .jp for Japan and .us for the United States etc. Country code top-level domains total of 110.2 million domain names registrations.Those extensions will continue to be popular. For the same reason that area codes, zip codes and phone extensions remain important. They identify with a certain country or locality. That won't change.

Now as far as for the current extensions that have been deemed less than successful. I would suggest that the new extensions (upwards of 1000 of them) are actually likely to be a boon to the "old extensions" such as .mobi, .biz and .info. The reason is that a new mindset about the place of domain names in our society and lives is about to evolve. What we are about to see is a sea change in how domain names are seen and utilized in our everyday lives. One thousand new domain name extensions flooding the Internet will have a tendency to do that to us. Leave it to the creative types, the marketers and the advertisers to program that into our DNA over the next several years and decades with the new domain name applications that proliferate. 

What I'm willing to predict here is that most if not all of the new domain extensions will be successful. Let's simply define success as being profitable and leave it that that as there are thousands of ways to define what would be deemed "successful." (Save for mismanagement by the registry or operators). Some will be wildly successful and some moderately successful and some will scrape by. However, like I just said, All it will take is a  change of mindset by the masses as to what domain names can be and how they can be used to enhance our lives. Phone numbers, email addresses (and) domain names. Give it some time.

So I'm also predicting that the introductions of the new gTLDs will be a boon to some of the older (and slightly tired) extensions such as .mobi, .info,  and .biz.  Domain names are going to become much more prominent and a much more significant part of all of our lives. Without exaggerating, as I've said in previous articles- we will all (or a large majority of us) soon own one, or two or dozens or hundreds of domain names. Just as we all have email addresses and mobile phone numbers. Circumstances that will unfold over the next several years and decades. As I said in the title of this blog. With the new gTLDs... everyone wins.