More articles by Naseem Javed
Do Not Enter: Closed gTLD Area
Definitions: Open gTLD is like dot com that anyone can buy and freely use. Closed gTLD is for example dot rice where the owners may decide if and how they are sold on the market or may use strictly for their own corporate use to corner the web traffic.
After a decade of fierce debates, ICANN allowed the world to buy gTLDs in an open fair game. Some 2,000 applications later, the new debates are now about the closed gTLDs. Owners of closed gTLDs are supposed to control the name and decide how to best use them. The questions being raised are about having such names with cyber traffic-flow powers in the hands of already market leaders. But why not — this is how name-brand trademarks are created, filed, secured and protected and this is how patents are filed all poised to corner markets. You don’t expect the Apple trademark to be shared with every apple-pie maker? So why enter in the areas of closed gTLDs.
For example, Uncle Ben’s Rice gets dot rice and starts placing its own secondary level domain names around the world to control and divert global cyber traffic to: Basmati.rice, brown.rice, long.rice, fried.rice. Furthermore they also decide not to sell any other combinations to the general public or for example to General Foods to have crispy.rice or candy.rice dreams.
A closed gTLD is no different than a highway billboard on a special boulevard capturing all the attention and blocking the competition. Only Visa was able to get the exclusive bid for Olympics where all the other gold cards were deemed useless. Dot rice is that exclusive billboard on the cyber highway. The rice business will go on and there will be hundreds of other special global naming options to create new brands for the billions of people.
As the release date approaches, million-dollar gTLDs flex their domination muscle and suddenly start to appear as billion-dollar domain name babies. ICANN has often underestimated the soft power of global naming complexities issues over hardcore technical domain name complexities; therefore the gTLDs soft power was poorly priced, presented as routine domain name and later lacked right value propositions and market education.
Despite all that, ICANN still won against all odds and made this game a reality. Today, the right choice generic names are poised to become billion-dollar domain babies.
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