Fear of a .Brand Planet

After watching the “Team Schilling vs. Team Schwartz” gTLD debate video – at least, the first part which was updated today – I am about to share a few thoughts on what was accomplished by that debate.

The position of either side was pretty much known beforehand; polarization on the very surface, but hopes of successful rollout of gTLDs, underneath that ‘facade’.

In other words, I am sure that neither side will deny they are in for the money.

The fact remains, that the decision made by ICANN, to allow a method and procedure for the rapid introduction of “dot brands” or gTLDs, is irreversible.

In other words, we are not arguing about allowing gTLDs to be introduced in the wild, we are debating whether they will be as successful, widespread and profitable as the primary contestants, the initial TLDs.

Small scale introduction of other TLDs, such as .biz, .info, .mobi and other lesser species, was primarily met with a lukewarm welcoming because the Internet and the global community of entrepreneurs were not ready at that time.

In an era that is motivated by constant communication and information exchange, when regimes fall from orchestrated Twitter campaigns and missing kids are located by Facebook pages, we are beyond the archaic era of .com, .net and .org.

The big push for gTLDs is made by those who are seeing a big opportunity to capitalize on the public’s thirst for new names, brands and identities. It’s no secret that all the good .com domains are long taken, and whether or not they are developed, they are one of a kind. No doubt, that’s part of what has been driving domain sales all along: the uniqueness of a brand or identity or web address.

All this will change with the gTLDs; at least, the ones that will be open to register and utilize for the same function that .com, .net and .org were used all along.

Sure, many of them will be snapped up by the same people that invest – or gamble – into a land rush that appears promising. I would personally urge anyone against investing heavily in gTLDs, without first performing a thorough research on the potential buyers of that market.

For example, once .Photo and .Video is allocated – hopefully to Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry – the market will be embraced by photographers and video artists, no doubt. If you think, however, that you will be able to rush in, register and flip for thousands of dollars every keyword under the sun, think again: photographers will spend a fortune on gear, but they are tightwads when it comes down to spending more than a hundred on a domain name.

This type of risk involving the new gTLDs must be understood by those who are blindly supporting the new era of the Internet, on the mere basis of trading domain names.

The big expansion will bring numerous other benefits, however, that are bound to propel the little domain industry much higher than anyone has ever imagined. Thousands of businesses, tens of thousands of employees, millions and millions will be invested in the creation, branding, marketing and functionality of the new “dot brands.”

The wave is unstoppable, whether you like it or not. Brands existed for several centuries before the Internet was born, and they will continue to exist as the Internet evolves into something “brand new.”

Yes, this pun was intentional. Brands, and “brand new” go hand in hand, to ensure that those with .com domains will do business as usual, while those investing in the new gTLD philosophy will do business much better.

So which side would you rather be on?


  1. Nice analysis. Many registries will succeed, Uniregistry being one, imo, because Frank understand how to market domain names. But for domain investors, .com will likely remain as the main playground, and there’s where I’ll focus my energy.

    .brand is the dark horse. Top brands such as L’Oreal, Hilton, and GM have all withdrawn their application. But, when it becomes easy to apply for and manage .brand by companies, then .brand may be able to takeover .com to be the new king.

  2. Kassey – Times are about to change; we are witnessing a monumental shift from the old guard to a new range of available TLDs.

    I don’t foresee nor wish .com, .net and .org to face a demise, but their reign is about to be toppled. Why? Because private corporations will put millions behind each respective campaign to raise brand awareness. The “.com” (collectively representing the .net and .org TLDs) has no such single backing, not even by Verisign itself, because they are mere managers of it, not owners.

    Again, pure domain investors will have to diversify and tap other synergies, such as development of their assets. It will be a great opportunity for everyone to work smart and make more money than before.

  3. Three points:

    It is a good thing to have people on record when it comes to these issues, well because none of us know for sure what will happen in the future, but it also helps to see what one is batting. (to mix my metaphors).

    What did each of us predict will happen to dot coms at the peak, and introduction of social media, such as Facebook & Twitter? Some of us went as far as saying that businesses will abandon their premium domains. We can look it up, the records are there on most blogs. Well, they were woefully wrong. Do you think they will have the grace to mention it when they offer new predictions?

    How many travel agents have switched from .com to .travel? Forget about Travelocity.com, tripology.com, take a look at Google.com’s first page from Los Angeles:

    [links removed]

  4. Domenclature – No one predicts the future, other than foreseeing a change in the present. And the current status quo is about to change, due to the sheer force behind these fundamental changes.

    This isn’t about allowing one or two random, specialized TLDs to peek through. This is about changing the landscape of the Internet. The faster this is realized by “old school” domainers, the easier their transition will be.

    For those that want to stick to .com etc., no problem. But be prepared to be swamped by a river of changes: Google – one of the biggest investors in gTLDs along with Amazon – are dictating what/how/where/why your search results will be, and the gTLDs will be a big part of the Internet.

    It was all about ICANN not opening the bag of Aeolus in the first place; once this was done, there is no putting back the winds.

    So save that screenshot of search results for a later day, once the gTLDs have been launched to the public, and let’s compare “before” and “after.” đŸ˜‰

  5. @Acro,

    Those are salient points, but think about these two points:

    Your mention of Google is unwittingly advancing my position; Google in the average human mind, and especially to businesses, who are more conservative and “old school”, means search. As much money, and clout as Microsoft, and Yahoo have, they have not been able to break through with Bing and Yahoo, respectively. Not to mention all the myriad thousands of search engines out there, they are in essence analogous to the new gTLD people, where .com is Google (pun intended).

    Secondly, I am not in love with any TLD; I wish others have a chance!

  6. Let’s just say i wouldn’t mind owning …… http://www.free.music
    Of course some new gtld’s will win …..over time

  7. The ARCHAIC .COM Dynasty is the Institutional Investors prized Address.

    You are showing a sophomoric naivete, in Online Marketing Analysis.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  8. For now, .com is still the place for domain investors, but I’ve learned to keep an open mind and constantly watch for changes. Nobody knows how the future will unfold. We can only speculate.

  9. Leonard Britt says

    2013 will probably finish with around 112 million .COM registrations while 1and1.com is currently showing pre-registrations for all 700 new TLDs combined at 3.66 million (and growing). However, there is only one TLD – .WEB with more than 100k pre-registrations (about 1% of .Org registrations). How many of those pre-registrations are by companies planning to put serious development and marketing dollars into their new internet properties (if their pre-registration even goes through amongst all the competitors for the best keywords)?

  10. Great speech, the one thing i have noticed in this two sided conversation among the pro/con gtlds is what is the actual public response to these new gtlds.If the general public (not domainers or registrars ect.) are all hyped and excited to accept these right of the dots then it will happen if they couldn’t care less then it will be just another dot us. Have there been any studies/polls conducted with the “public”.

  11. Patrick – The general public will soon find out.

    Leonard – I would not consider pre-registrations as the absolute decision-making factor. Keep in mind, that 30 million .com domains are recycled annually.

    Kassey – Keeping an open mind is the best way to approach any business, including the unknown.

    Jeff – YaddaYadda.com

  12. Dug up this report by afilias. Just skimmed the basics look’s like it is going to be an uphill battle.

  13. Hello, I read “For example, once .Photo and .Video is allocated – hopefully to Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry”: why “hopefully to Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry”?

  14. Jean – .Photo has only one applicant, Uniregistry. The other one, .Video has Uniregistry, Amazon, Donuts and TLDH as applicants. I believe Uniregistry are the most qualified to provide a stable registry system for both gTLDs. Regardless, it’s up to ICANN to decide.

  15. Lol @ yadayada.com đŸ˜›

  16. Two things will cause new TLDs to fail;
    Dilution – they will rely on domainers investing, but that investment will be spread very, very thinly between so many registries. Historically, the average domainer might buy ten .INFO or .MOBI domains when they were launched because that was as much as they’d be willing to speculate. Those ten domains will now be spread across hundreds of registries. Also, with specific category TLDs like .photo the number of premium domains is much lower. cats.com and potato.com are premium, but cats.photo only just works, and potato.photo is probably worthless.

    Confusion – the average person browsing the net won’t understand why http://www.bike.com and http://www.bike aren’t the same thing, or why ohio.bike works but ohio.hike doesn’t.

    Business Names – A photographer, Frank McBiggins wanting to start a website will still want FrankMcBigginsPhotography.com, not FrankMcBiggins.Photo. Why? Because the first makes more sense and is the name of his business. The latter looks and sounds weird. FrankMcBigginsPhotography.Photo looks really awkward.

    The new TLDs will largely founder.

  17. CB – Au contraire. The new gTLDs do not rely on domainers investing, this is exactly what stops many domainers from seeing what exactly is happening out there. Remove the sideblinders, people!

    I mentioned .photo on purpose, not as a motivation to invest, but as an exact opposite. This doesn’t mean the specific gTLD is destined to fail! It’s a very targeted extension, with a large market that simply won’t invest in expensive aftermarket domains. These domains are expected to be priced between $10 – $30 each, and even Scottish photographers will open their wallets – for figure of speech.

    You’d be surprised about how many photographers would want a meaningful .photo domain instead of a junky .com, I work with them on a daily basis.

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