Imagine the world wide web with infinite identification where everyone can put whatever they want as their internet domain naming address, virtually everything. Now, it is no more imagination. You really can put any name you want, for instance as http://www.business.ritchi. Or for governmental area, you can simply type http://www.trade.paris. Or for education purpose, you can use http://www.children.kindergaten..
After a series of long discussion and debate between internet communities, business groups, and governments, the decision was made on Monday, 20 June 2011 to enter a new order of top-level-domain management ever. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that coordinates the Internet’s addressing system, approved to increase number of domains that can be used for any industry, community or interest group for their specific needs from that previously limited to only some domain like dot.com, dot.org, dot.net, dot.info or dot.biz. Ratification made by ICANN now provides users more choices to apply name for their own generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
Obviously, this whole new ways of addressing domain will bring impact on the way people search and use information. For trademark holders this ruling would make their brand, innovation or process are more protected by ensuring more authenticity and authorization power for their properties. From now on, no one will be allowed to apply for a particular name, such as dot.Ritchi, without written approval from me. For a local or a specific country, like Thailand, who wants to utilize more internet activity delivered in their local language, gTLD will enable them to their own language structure, not only English.
gTLDs implementation is also seen as a way to prevent or to reduce cybersquatting activities. Value of cybersquatting would be greatly reduced as no logical need for bad faith squatters to keep such dot.something to further sell it to another party with marginal cost. Reflecting the dot.com burst back in 2000, we have seen how many unreliable (or perhaps unrealistic) dot.com start ups failed to show real business value due to unproven business plan. These young IT folks sold huge number of non substantial unbacked business domains to some sloppy venture capitalists in exchange for stock to make them new billionaires. And the trend continued, at least to some degree until gTLDs endorsement, with the selling of variety of these dot.coms/orgs/nets/etc which bears little meaning to the squatters (but great value to real business)to subsequently sell them to companies or groups with high prices.
With such promising merits offered by gTLD, it would be a worth move to get the new domain. But no pain no gain. In order to obtain your dreamed domain name, you have to dig out your wallet a way out deeper. ICANN requires any interested group to spend $185,000 to subscribe for their desired domain. This big investment does not come with unsubstantiated reason. One of ICANN’s argument is that it needs to cover application processing expenses and providing service for litigation and any related issues might arise. From applicant side, this would entail a detailed business plan, clear IT strategy especially in B2B, and likely a ready legal policy to tackle competition and ownership issues. This indicates how serious and fully-controlled the organization and of this new domain naming system will be.
Nevertheless, with such big opportunity, and big money too, there is still challenge in dispute over who will be the most proper one to be entitled with particular domain. For example, there may be a conflict over the use of dot.ritchi between me and the other guy in some US state. If this occurs, auction to the highest bidder will likely be done to overcome the dispute. Auction means more money, and I ain’t got that huge bucks though. So perhaps I will let this other hamzah ritchi to win. C’est la vie.
Some analysts voice some concern over a predicted decline in traffic, and consequently profits, of search engine industry. Under the new system, users are likely to by pass google or yahoo to get their specific needs. They do not have to think what queries to type in search field as they can straightforwardly go to their destination which they knew already. But as Lenny Kravitz said, it ain’t over ’till it over. I will not take a hurried opinion to judge whether Google with its entire kingdom, will diminish.
According to the site, ICANN will soon begin a global campaign to tell the world about this dramatic change in Internet names and to raise awareness of the opportunities afforded by new gTLDs. Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012. For quick introduction, a seven minutes video of the coming gTLDs can be watched below or you can see it in ICANN homepage. A new platform emerges for everyone to grab and monetize opportunity in digital environment, and that the internet is all about, to do[t]anything.