The internet’s abuzz with hype and gossip about the future of top-level domains and we’re here to help. Whether you’re worried about trademark infringement, administrative rights, search engine recognition, squatters or getting a gTLD of your own, don’t let the hype get you down. Here’s 5 gTLD myths debunked
1. A registrar has unlimited control over the release of their gTLDs.
Many people in the ever-watching internet community believe that businesses or organizations that get the rights to administer nTLDs will have the control to keep all of the extensions for their own use. But, it wouldn’t be that simple. To get that exemption, because the ICANN guidebook explicitly states that an administrator can’t keep all extensions without due cause, the GAC (Government Advisory Committee) and ICANN would have to rule that the exclusivity wouldn’t harm another organization or community. So if authors everywhere feel being excluded from .author would hurt their community, they could raise objections. Even though companies will have certain rights as administrators, including how exclusive or inclusive their registration process will be, the guideline have to be approved by ICANN first to make sure they are fair and encourage competition.
2. Squatters will prosper with nTLDs.
A lot of people think that the addition of nTLDs will increase the amount of cyber-squatting, but one of the reasons ICANN decided to expand gTLDs in the first place was to help eliminate squatting. More options (hundreds, in some cases) for domain names mean that the chances of your name being unavailable, or costing tens of thousands of dollars to purchase, is low. Some also worry that squatters could become administrators themselves, but ICANN has taken advanced measures to make sure that doesn’t happen, including looking into whether or not the organization or person applying for administration rights has a history of internet squatting, making the application detailed and the process intensive, and keeping the cost of application high.
3. gTLDs are a big business game.
Many small business owners express feeling as though nTLDs are out-of-reach, because of the cost to apply ($185,000 an application, plus $25,000 in annual costs). That’s a lot of money, because it costs a lot of money to run a domain, and register extensions to purchasers. But the sticker price on administrative rights doesn’t translate to the bottom-level, where most small organizations and businesses purchase their gTLDs. Administering .pet may be expensive, but buying a .pet domain extension for your business probably won’t be.
4. Trademark protection will be harder to enforce.
Trademark infringement have been a worry for internet users since day one, but the nTLDs have brought many of those concerns back to the forefront. ICANN operates within U.S. regulations, and reviews all applications with objections and GAC recommendations. Still concerns around how brand protection, global trademarks and restricted use abound. To counter these concerns, ICANN, registries, registrars and the intellectual property community are working on setting up a Trademark Clearing House (TMCH) to add an extra layer of protection for trademark holders. All of the nTLDs will be subject to the TMCH, which is currently undergoing extensive development and review before implementation. The point is, the community is doing everything possible to make sure that the nTLDs won’t make it easier to infringe trademark protection because the oversight and regulation will be tighter.
5. nTLDs are going to make the internet difficult to navigate.
One of the greatest concerns out there is that nTLDs are going to mess up the web by adding confusion. Some think that nTLDs will lose traffic to more traditional domains. If you own example.music won’t you lose traffic to example.com, because the internet public won’t be used to nTLDs and just type in “example.com”? Won’t the internet be harder to navigate with all these new domains? Rest assured that nothing will fundamentally change about the way we use the net, because nothing will change about how the net fundamentally operates — it’s just going to get bigger. The consumer base will adjust, as they have in the past (this is not the first time gTLDs have been added for public use), and while search engines haven’t stated explicitly how they’ll deal with nTLDs, most experts believe that the new extensions should help search engine recognition, by adding more keywords right into the domain name.
Hopefully we’ve helped squash some fears about the new gTLDs. Follow your favorite nTLD using our watcher and keep an eye on our blog to see how the application process pans out.