The gTLD Metamorphosis


ADOTAS – The cocooned gTLD (generic top-level domain name) has started to spread its wings — soon it will show its color and become a butterfly. The well-guarded, fuzzy and slow progress has finally put some real power in the most anticipated metamorphosis, but the world still awaits some flying maneuvers. Mother ICANN has worked very hard to come to this stage.

It seems that mainstream global brands, their leading ad agencies, major laws firms protecting their complex intellectual property portfolios and creative services need to come forward and share in the showdown. So far the coyest debate and borderline fear-mongering — mostly about a flood of squatting, trademark defense posturing — need a head-on collision with factual issues of name identity marketability and suitability by gTLDs. The markets need point by point clarity to settle the confusion.

The conference events on gTLD have started and that’s excellent, but they have to build momentum and higher frequency as the world is a very large stage and a few gatherings of the same people speaking about the same topics will not make a dent. After the big announcement by ICANN in June, followed by a few thousand news items, the web has have gone quiet while corporations and senior management worldwide have no idea what will happen.

A quick survey of top senior marketing executives in North America by AARM points to “only 2% executives having some very limited or somewhat confusing ideas without any reasonable understanding of what a gTLD is all about.” The current buzz in the Internet columns, blogs and media is that it’s an $187,000 money grab, a threat to mega-trademarks and a move that will lead to a flood cyber-squatting. How wrong.

On the legal front, IBLS also did some research and found that legal practitioners trying hard to find simple approach to connect potential customers with highly suitable gTLD opportunities but missing out on any serious response. On the global naming complexities of branding, AZNA is also providing Executive Intelligence Briefings on such matters.

The lack of understanding on gTLD from the corporate world is the main problem. By and large, a very small group within the Internet technocrats and ICANN-related services, domainers playing with the domain after-markets and domain name registries that deal with highly competitive pricing for basic domain name registrations are all positively engaged.

The sum total of all these people if measured in tens of thousands is still an insignificant number for this serious global marketing issue poised to get the attention of hundreds of millions of businesses out there.

How fast will this cocoon hatch, how soon will it spread its wings and show off its real colors? It all depends on the spot lighted fast track orientation and, most important, when gTLD based models would demonstrate real global cyber-branding and create new image expansion opportunities.

The biggest surprise for the corporate world will be the sudden realization that there is no more room to file or their dream names have already been taken as the window for the first round closes. For the certain players, these will be big shocks and very major marketing setbacks.


  1. But what does the future really hold for ICANN’s new GTLDS?

    Especially as ICANN won’t allow applications from any individual or sole proprietorship, effectively ignoring the interests and needs of the vast majority of Internet users worldwide. Add to the equation non-refundable deposits of $185,000 PER extension, $500,000 for “integration” plus potentially unlimited annual costs and expenses etc, and how many new GTLDS will actually see the light of day? Is this a commercial venture or simply a loss making exercise in vanity?

    ICANN’s main aim has always been to convince Internet users that they’re the only game in town and then try to herd everyone into a tiny part of an otherwise infinite universe….but that’s like telling people the only place they can shop anywhere on the planet is a “convenient” Kroger’s store in Cincinnati. Yes, the current ICANN Internet set-up may be “convenient” right now, but then some years ago sending a telegram was convenient and sending an email meant inventing the computer (and World Wide Web). So whether or not ICANN’s GTLD program seems like a good idea, it’s worth considering if instead of bringing organisations to the forefront, ICANN’s new GTLDS will actually isolate you. It’s also worth considering that the Internet is evolving and more fitting and less expensive options are coming on-stream.

    Increasingly ICANN finds itself under pressure to modify. The rules have changed and Alternatives are now available (eg: as well as Dotcoms, there are now Dashcoms). As ICANN realises that competition is finally at hand, the true value (or the true cost) of these GTLD “opportunities” will become all too apparent. Still, look on the bright side at least ICANN and their associates will have made money from your efforts.

    Disclaimer: Author provides dashcom (not dotcom) domain names.


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