Archive for February, 2011

Big business has been using the new TLD concept for years

Friday, February 18th, 2011

The recent practice of major corporations abandoning the use of forward slashes in domain names and placing the product or service in front of their corporate domain name reinforces the business case for why we need new Top-Level Domains.

By Michael Twist

By now we’ve all had a chance to digest the concept around the new TLD program and in some cases even come up with our own amazing ideas for the next .com or a niche TLD that will make us millionaires overnight!

Well maybe some of us have…

Others are taking a far more practical approach to the exciting new changes to the Internet and how it will be adopted and used, in particular within the corporate arena. While there is still much conjecture around rights protection and trademark issues, the biggest unknown I think is how and when the new .brand TLDs will be used.

Speaking with a number of corporate clients recently it has become painfully clear that not everyone is as excited about the prospect of .brand TLDs hitting the online marketplace as I am. Whilst there is a large number of forward thinking organisations out there that can see the future ahead, the reality is that there are still a number of companies who see the whole program as a waste of time and money and will only be applying purely as a brand protection mechanism or even worse, not at all!

It’s these clients that ask me, how can a .brand do anything but hinder our marketing and strategic plans?

Well the answer to this question came to me as I was reading an industry publication over my afternoon coffee and biscuit. I saw an advertisement for a new shoe from global sporting powerhouse, Nike.
Now the product itself, although quite ingenious wasn’t what caught my eye. What caught my eye was the web address – nikeid.nike.com

This got me thinking…

1.    Why did Nike choose this address as opposed to the commonly used www.nike.com/nikeid ?
2.    Why didn’t they choose www.nikeid.com ?
3.    Is this proving a more effective way to deliver their message?
4.    Is anyone else doing this?

The first three questions are there for Nike to answer but I would guess they chose the structure to assist in message recall and easier direct type into the web browser, which all lead to a simpler and more effective way for their customers to interact with them.

I also looked at nikeid.com and it resolved to the nikeid.nike.com page – interesting.

The third question I can answer for you very simply -“yes” other companies are doing this. Taking just five minutes on Google I found four of the biggest brands in their respective industries doing exactly the same thing:

•    software.intel.com
•    podcast.bmw.com
•    ebookstore.sony.com
•    store.apple.com

As you can see the trend is to bring the product or service ahead of the TLD in order to enhance customer recall which leaves the .com as a superfluous suffix that is only utilized because current protocols and domain name infrastructure dictates that the address would not work without it.

How much easier would it be for customers to remember the promotions if it was simply;

•    software.intel
•    podcast.bmw
•    ebookstore.sony
•    store.apple

If you’re having trouble noticing the difference, try saying it to yourself like you were listening to a television commercial or a radio advertisement!!

So what does this really mean?

In my humble opinion the take up time of .brand and its transition to main stream usage may not take as long as some may think. With these big brands already utilizing the product.brand way of addressing it’s clear that the exercise of merely dropping the .com at the end is the only obstacle that needs to be overcome for the .brand way of thinking to revolutionise how we navigate the Internet.

That… and a few short sighted people looking beyond a digital marketing strategy that lasts a year or two!

Michael Twist

Top-Level Domain name specialist with AusRegistry International

New TLDs are coming, and they are coming fast

Friday, February 11th, 2011

By Krista Papac

Despite what you may have read about possible delays to the rollout of the new Top-Level Domain (TLD) program, all the available evidence points to ICANN approving the applicant guidebook shortly after its San Francisco conference in March.

My feelings about the timing of the new TLD program were further buoyed by Kurt Pritz, ICANN’s Senior Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, who gave a presentation at the .nxt conference I attended in San Francisco this week. Mr Pritz said the applicant guidebook is currently in a “proposed final” version and should be approved after ICANN’s San Francisco conference in March.

However, there are still some significant hurdles to overcome.

A recent comment by ICANN Board Chair, Peter Dengate-Thrush, indicated ICANN may not be able to approve the applicant guidebook in March, and reports about the GAC’s veto power-play, have created more uncertainty in the final timelines associated with the approval of the applicant guidebook.

The GAC has made a number of recommendations to ICANN about the implementation of the new TLD program and there are currently12 remaining points of contention to be discussed later this month at a special inter-sessional meeting of the GAC and the ICANN Board. In addition, the US Government wants the GAC to have a level of control over what TLDs can be applied for. If the US Government had its way, all new TLD applications would require GAC approval.

However, under its constitutional bylaws, ICANN must hear and consider GAC advice but it does not have to accept the GAC’s recommendations, no matter how strongly they are worded.

My interpretation is that ICANN are finally doing what they need to do, both politically and operationally, to properly execute the new TLD program. By invoking the bylaws, ICANN is demonstrating its determination to see the new TLD program implemented without any further delays, while also appreciating the importance of solid consultation with the GAC and ICANN community.

The January board resolutions show ICANN will be working closely with the GAC in an attempt to quickly resolve any outstanding disagreements. Following the inter-sessional meeting, ICANN will hold a consultation meeting with the GAC on 17 March and I expect them to announce a final decision shortly after.

This means ICANN’s San Francisco conference (13 – 18 March) is looming as a very important milestone on the path towards the realisation of the new TLD program. Although the applicant guidebook will most likely not be signed off in San Francisco, it should be the last time ICANN meets without it being finalised.

In all of my experience within the domain industry, I strongly believe we will see the guidebook signed off very soon. In fact, my response when asked over the past two years about when I thought new TLDs would be approved has always been, “I don’t know”, or “your guess is as good as mine”.

Now, I’m more inclined to say “soon, very soon” with a lot of confidence and certainty. In fact, I’m going to make my first ever TLD prediction – I believe the new TLD application window will open in August 2011. So don’t be discouraged. Be excited. New TLDs are coming and they are coming fast!

Krista Papac is based in California at AusRegistry International’s US office. She provides advice on all domain name industry policy matters as AusRegistry International’s Chief Strategy Officer.