Not A Good Idea

This headline could describe a whole host of things I suppose, especially in an election year. But in this case, I am referring to the sale of generic top level domain names (gTLDs). Effective January 12, ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – began selling gTLD’s for $185,000 a piece. A gTLD is basically the suffix in a URL. The most common one is .com, although most people have probably seen .net, .edu and .org. The new plan however, is for much more specific terms that might refer to an industry, such as .hotel or even a brand, such as .coke. The obvious question, it seems to me, is who needs this new pricey innovation? Most folks I know don’t care too much about the suffix. They search for a product or service and pay much more attention to the word before the dot than they do the term after it. This article picks up that point and explains in detail why anyone would put up that kind of cash. And the answer is that it’s likely at least some businesses will do it solely for defense – to keep competitors or others from scooping up a brand name. Remember a little over a decade ago when the original cybersquatters bought up URLs for popular brand names and then offered to sell them to the rightful owners for exorbitant prices? Some folks are predicting a “land grab” as companies try to protect their turf. But we’ll see. The $185,000 is a pretty high barrier to entry, as is the responsibility to act as the registry for that gTLD. It may make sense to hold off buying up a brand name just yet.