|Unlimited New TLDs - Chaos, Opportunity or the Opportunities OF Chaos?|
Confusion? Trading off? Money for registrars but little benefit for others?
Place your bets.
State your reasons.
My view: Big ho-hum, mostly.
Companies/People with $, some of whom are competing to create new TLDs, are wagering on their ability to market an exclusive new product.
Some, such as Google, MAY have marketing leverage - giving away, "on condition, new TLDs - especially IF people BELIEVE their business' fate depends on G's love and affection. (I might suggest you work hard on diminishing that dependency, not further surrendering to it.)
Others new TLD players are likely playing a VC (other people's/fool's $) game, selling versions of "all it takes is one big hit", "hey, who doesn't like rebilling", "we get our money back ~guarantee BECAUSE so many brands will (foolishly) make defensive registrations", etc.
IF ICANN creates a brand quagmire/nightmare could this spell the end of ICANN? I sense decay IF ICANN doesn't provide for global brands to NOT have to "pay to protect" their brands - over and over again. (Sorry new TLDs but "NO COKE.newTLD for you! Pull it off the shelves, permanently, without cost to the brand.)
Will fools rush in to make speculative regs? Surely, they've done it time and time again. However, unlimited new TLDs does not equate with unlimited fools with unlimited $$$ to speculatively invest. That will play out in ways that "past preformance does not predict future . . . "
What moves should a savvy domainer and/or web developer plan to make?
Will you be sucked into messages suggesting "if you don't then A, B or C will"?
If you're planning on "sitting this one out" what might change your mind?
Want a "free" Google TLD . . "on condition that" . . ? What conditions would make you thumb your nose at G?
The first is a question: how many of the people involved in the new gTLD registry applications had connections to or were directly involved in domain tasting?
The introduction of new gTLDs is going to cause an increase in the ccTLD/com axis as people don't like being confused. It will take a lot of time and money to establish new TLDs and most will not have the expertise, the time or the money.
Usage, more than anything else, is a more effective killer of TLDs. The .eu ccTLD usage figures are closer to those for .biz than a genuine ccTLD. Most of .co ccTLD seems to be parked on Godaddy's PPC landing page. If a TLD is not used, then people don't see it and therefore they don't use it. Thus what remains is a core of brand protection registrations and true believers nursing a hope that their keyword domains will someday make more than what they paid for them.
Detecting new websites is a very difficult task at the best of times and Google's infinite monkeys following links approach is obscenely inefficient and inelegant. With the new gTLDs, access to the zonefiles is assured and it makes it easier to detect new registrations. Google would like to get every newbie website into its index in a Googlecities implementation of Geocities. It might even help its ailing G+ mess.
The registries that cut deals with their cronies and known big domainers are going to be hardest hit because this is going to be seen as abject corruption by a market that has seen the collapse of crooked banks and institutions over the last few years. That's a backlash that some registries will not be expecting.
Brand protection registrations are not going to be a guaranteed source of income. There's been a hardening of brand protection with many companies focusing on their core market TLDs. It becomes more important for IP owners to register in TLDs that may be used rather than TLDs that will never be used by their core market. And if the non-core TLD registration becomes a problem then there's always UDRP.
Watch .us ccTLD (and .ca ccTLD). Even though the US Gov mucked things up by not giving it to Godaddy to promote, there's going to be a newfound sense of identity for these ccTLDs when faced with .junk gTLD. There's a massive realignment in the US and Canada that's well overdue and this may be the trigger. When .eu ccTLD was banjaxed by the European Commisson and Eurid, the effect on the EU ccTLDs was massive in that it drove registration patterns as people were so irritated by the incompetence of Eurid and the way that the .eu was sold out to non-EU speculators by a flawed and arguably corrupted Sunrise phase that they immediately shifted to their local ccTLD. The effect even hit .com registration trends in those markets. Confusion creates a demand for certainty - .com and ccTLD prices could even increase.
Watch the city gTLDs. Some of them have the equivalent market size of small countries. However domainers are going to get reamed when they go for keyword type registrations. There's an effect that I've seen in ccTLDs where people do not remember keyword type domains but do remember business names and locations. This is because people identify with their ccTLD in a way that they do not identify with .com. Thus someone in Ireland does not have to remember that .ie stands for Ireland or someone in the UK does not have to remember that .uk stands for the UK. It is just like remembering the location of the local bar or restaurant. Some of the most important winners in the city gTLDs will be information/community/sales sites that integrate the locality's name into the domain.
As for Google, I think that the market is going to take care of Dear Leader Larry and friends. :)
I do so enjoy great social and economic experiments, especially those where only a select few (preferably the originators or proponents) are harmed by any lack of foresight, planning, discretion, etc.