Implications of the New ICANN Internet Domains
On January 29, 2014 ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers began to roll out the first few of seven hundred new domain name suffixes after almost a decade of debate, delays and countless quarrels.
To put that into perspective, prior to 2011 the sub-domains available to users online were fixed at just twenty-two for non country-specific domains as part of the general top level domains (gTLDs). When the governing body lifted this restriction with the addition of an entity, options for commercial enterprises increased.
The decision was ultimately focussed on sparking a wave on innovation online and now, just under a year later, a total of 1,930 applications have been submitted to ICANN with some 1,270 having already been approved.
Are Consumers Aware?
The most common commercial domain names have always been .com, .gov and .org in the past and these have become so ingrained in the public perception of what the internet represents, that consumers may not even be aware these changes are taking place.
Owners of the new domain suffixes are being urged to promote the initiative to consumers and build awareness in the internet community that there are now new destinations to visit online such as .tickets, .music, .app, and .search amongst many others.
In the Commercial Circuit
Entrepreneurs undertaking new business ventures online have found it it increasingly difficult to first choose, and subsequently establish their brand names in the oversaturated global marketplace for the better part of the last eight to ten years – there simply weren’t enough available domains to go round.
When ICANN first introduced their round of open applications, many companies jumped at the chance and immediately laid down the $185,000 fee to make their voices heard. Tech giants Amazon and Google have reportedly spent millions developing an array of applications for the ‘.app’ and ‘.search’ domain suffixes. Many other industry heavyweights have sought the right to use their own brand names as a new suffix, take for example .mcdonalds and .nike.
Where critics are concerned, the majority reportedly believe that companies set to gain more from using their brand names as internet extension as opposed to using generic terms that speak to the products or services they offer consumers. The question remains unanswered as to whether or not respective industries will adopt the new domain name suffixes in force.
Live Auction for the .tickets Domain
In September, 2014 the private auction for the .tickets domain concluded when UK-based Accent Media won the bid. The company has since stated that it will allow pre-approved organizations to utilize the sub-domain to provide safer sales involving online ticketing.
In order to secure the auction, Accent Media received a $1.62 million investment from Centralnic, the interest registry and GoDaddy of UK domain names. As a result, Centralnic will become the exclusive retail partner and wholesaler for .tickets.
Impacts for Domain Name Buyers and Sellers
For those buying and selling internet domains the expansion presents a whole new set of problems and undoubtedly complications things the most notable of which concerns how to precisely value a new domain suffix and how to accurately predict the swings of supply and demand.
The change will slow regardless as businesses aren’t entirely sold on radically overhauling the established modes of internet navigation over night. This presents itself as a fantastic opportunity for some buyers to get in early on the ground floor. If companies are willing to pay $185,000 in fees just to put their brands on the list, then that is a good economic indicator of a healthy, emerging and potentially lucrative online marketplace.
Just be smart with your investments and exercise patience. These are not domain names you should be building your portfolio upon. They are there merely to supplement your existing catalogue and provide additional options for interested buyers.
If your domain name is coming up for renewal at any point in 2015, the new suffixes released by ICANN might just be worth a look, for small-to-medium businesses and large corporate entities alike. And if you’re flipping domain names for profit, you’ll need to double your research in order to ensure that your money is going to be money well spent.