More articles by Naseem Javed
The Role of gTLDs in Asia and Emerging Markets
ADOTAS – When ICANN introduced its revolutionary gTLD program in September, Asian and emerging markets had two questions: what’s so special about this gLTD program and how do you play in this exclusive arena?
As the application deadline of Jan. 12, 2012, approaches, the confusion grows in intensity. Arguments are flying regarding who will apply, who will wait, who will win and who will lose. The biggest challenge is the lack of understanding of the delicate intricacies of the global cyber name/identity expansion program, even though a lot of information is available at ICANN’s website. Still there is a serious need for timely debate.
Across emerging markets, there are thousands of new brands incubating that are in serious need of hyper-visibility. A gTLD naming platform offers the fastest way to create hyper-visibility and global presence as an intricate device for attracting massive customer acquisition.
But would this work the same magic in emerging markets? The answers are hidden in the applicant’s business model, current name identity evaluation and specific global image identity expansion plans. The introduction of gTLD platforms has awakened a new level of marketing knowledge and the old thinking needs a serious upgrade.
To the Emerging Markets
First, for organizations seeking global name identity domination, “proposed name” issues on deciding a winning combination are critical. For example which one will make a better gTLD brand — AlphaTech or MegaTech? .locomoto vs. .automoto? .udrive or .idrive?
For generic brands, which will have more power: .car, .auto or .motor? Which would sell more: .tel, .cell or .mobile?
Such fine-tuned formulation will decide the success and also the sub-name-brand pricing architecture to function under a winning master name’s usability and suitability while avoiding traps of duplication. That’s why a gTLD race will end up creating some spectacular successes and possibly some catastrophic failures. The biggest challenge is to have in-depth understanding of all the new global cyber-name identity disciplines.
Asia and the emerging markets are currently flooded with small to midsized enterprises. Despite all the controversies about the high price of a gTLD, but even in the range of $500,000, it is still highly affordable.
This investment is no more than the price of large single-highway signage over a 10-year lease. Instead, gTLDs permit thousands of such luminous cyber-structures over high-density information highways all over the world. Once an organization decides on a unique idea with the right name identity, the challenge will be to create, nurture and grow it with a successful sub-name brand-hierarchy and create profitable money-tree.
The emerging markets have unique diversity of people and skills. If we analyze the future of advanced level marketing and place the gTLD process in a hierarchy pyramid, the base would consist of all the great concepts and specific ideas. The middle part would be procedures of application, where legally guided processes reside. On the very pointed top of the pyramid would be the “proposed name identity” with full supportive analysis, as without that name identity’s absolute winning certainty, the entire exercise would simply be futile and the pyramid would collapse.
The multilingualization of Internet domain names offers colorful variations of cultural strings to connect people and expands the horizon on e-commerce while engaging customers in their local habitat. When masses of Chinese, Hindustani, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese, French and Arabic get more involved with domain names in their own languages — inviting hundreds of millions more online users at each threshold — the Internet flow becomes more productive.
The first generation “English-only domain names” served the markets very well, but now the messages connecting the world have to bounce around the smallest villages. India just released a $35 laptop device to help half a billion people enjoy the free flow of electronic commerce to improve their lives.
The world is moving fast while ICANN is coping with rapid domain name management and unlimited gTLD expansion platforms. All such developments point to better communication among the global populace, precise customer acquisition models and faster access to information and growth.
Misconceptions and Fear Mongering
Research by AARM shows that barely 2% of senior marketing executives have an understanding of gTLD while the remainders have no clue. It is almost as difficult as explaining a domain name two decades ago. Half knowledge is the worst kind of knowledge.
The new gTLD approach is a logical evolution towards global cyber name branding expansion. This subject of corporate nomenclature at this level of global naming complexity is neither taught at world’s leading universities nor discussed in top MBA courses. In response AZNA is offering highly specialized senior level training.
At this critical stage, however, the associations of the advertising agencies from all over the world have taken a violent opposition to the entire program. Their fear mongering is directly related to a lack of knowledge of the ever-expanding multilingual domain name base, global nomenclature complexities and the fear of losing their power to cyber-domain name-management registries.
At the end of the day, a gTLD is all about “granting global name identity license with unlimited sub-domain name-brand-expansion.” The gradual power shift toward ICANN in becoming the world’s largest influencer on brand name identities is a scary thought for ad agencies.
But at this junction, chief marketers and ad agencies are seriously missing out on the game as they could offer dynamic cyber-presence-driven offerings and bring gTLD naming combinations across Asia. They should re-strategize old name identities with innovative global sub-domain name systems and prepare key players from the region to become formidable voices on the global cyber-marketing scene.
There is a small window to play in this global arena, but currently the lack of knowledge and special skills to adopt winning strategies is the most serious handicap. The curtain will rise on Jan., 12 — some will be players to be seen on the stage while others are lined up as spectators.
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