CATEGORY: New Domains

The gTLD Land Grab Controversy: Google, Amazon, and the GAC Part II

Here is Part I of Tiffany’s series on the gTLD Land Grab Controversy.

Just one of the reasons Amazon and Google are garnering so much attention as new gTLDs (nTLDs) make their way through ICANN’s application process is the sheer number of their applications (read about the other reason, here). Google applied for the administration rights to 98 different nTLDs (after withdrawing three applications), while Amazon applied for the rights to 77 nTLDs. Early Warnings were issued late last month by the GAC, and some issued by Australia to Amazon, touch on the controversy surrounding the notable “land grab” that both Google and Amazon are participating in.

What is a ‘Land Grab’?

“Land grabbing” used to refer to a large-scale acquisition of land by a single entity. That definition doesn’t change, when referring to gTLDs, except that the land is the new gtlds land grab controversyvirtual. Many argue that nTLDs represent “new frontier” in Internet real estate. And while no one really knows what effect nTLDs will have on how users interface with the Web, many who keep watch on the application process seem concerned that Google and Amazon are applying for such a large amount of nTLDs, citing the common repercussions of a land grab – pricing smaller organizations, communities, and entities out of the market, thereby creating a monopoly.

Who’s Objecting?

Australia may be the only country to issue a GAC Early Warning concerning Amazon’s land grab, but bloggers and tech magazines have been discussing the implications of Amazon and Google obtaining so much nTLD land since the applications were filed. For anyone connected to the online world of writing, music, apps, cloud storage, or any other market represented by the gTLDs Amazon and Google are applying for, the amount of applications coupled with restrictions to third party access may affect the way you’re able to connect with nTLDs as a register.

Most contention centers on the fact that both Amazon and Google plan to use many nTLDs exclusively, without allowing third party registrars to open independent registrations, or without allowing single entities to register domains and obtain full ownership, boxing competitors and other potential registers out of their gTLD space.

What’s the Solution?

Right now, the solution is fuzzy. While the GAC has issued their Early Warnings  and heeding the Early Warnings is strongly recommended, Amazon and Google don’t have to comply with all GAC warnings, since the GAC will not be making the final calls on applications – ICANN will. Amazon and Google can also change their exclusivity policies to make them more transparent, and to allow third party purchases of their gTLD domains. Keeping the market open on their end may help squelch the land grab controversy, since others will be able to register common term gTLDs for their own use.

And, not everyone agrees that Amazon’s and Google’s move to purchase administration rights to dozens of nTLDs is in the wrong – some believe that gTLDs are an open market, and therefore the power of purchase dictates who gets administration rights. Twitter and Facebook chose not to apply for any gTLDs, while other large corporations, like Yahoo! only applied for gTLDs related to their brands and trademarks. It may be too early to tell if Google and Amazon actually pose a risk to healthy nTLD development, and the inconsistency of how big corporations are interacting with nTLDs complicates putting forth an accurate prediction.

What’s Your Take?

What do you think of Google and Amazon applying for the rights to so many nTLDs? Is this a move that might affect the industry you’re a part of, or do you feel comfortable getting your piece of the pie, even if Google and Amazon are successful in their bids for multiple nTLDs? Let us know in the “comments” section below.

For more information on nTLDs, check out our handy dandy nTLD guide. To read more about Amazon and Google, and the controversy surrounding their applications for “generic term gTLDs,” click here.

The Internet is Not Going to Break and 4 Other gTLD Myths Refuted

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 New gTLDs mythsplace 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.

Sunrise, Landrush for the New TLDs

Hello!

I’m Scott McBreen, Domains Operations Manager at Name.com. With all the excitement regarding the New Top Level Domains (nTLDs) there are many people wondering how the new domains will be made available.  Others may be curious if it is worth the money to register an nTLD for use as a personal/professional website, or even for investment purposes.  Follow along below for responses to both those questions.

Registry operators, those that manage databases for Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .com, utilize multiple strategies when making domains available to the new TLDs domain name operation managerpublic. Some registries will restrict who can register domains under their TLD, while others will make domains available to general public. Registries that open their TLD to the general public will typically make domain names available in stages when they are first released. These stages typically fall into the three categories: sunrise, land rush, and general availability.

The sunrise period allows applicants to apply for domains through accredited registrars, such as Name.com, if the domains meet certain criteria.  Sunrise applications typically require a registered trademark on the string for which the applicant applies. In the caseof the nTLD, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will offer a Trademark Clearinghouse, which will allow trademark holders to protect their trademark. Registries may also offer an additional sunrise period which allows owners of strings under an alternate TLD to apply for the same string in the nTLD they manage. For example, if your accounting firm owns SmithandMcBreen.com you may be eligible for SmithandMcBreen.cpa during the sunrise period.

Sunrise period registrations typically cost more than general availability registrations. However, the sunrise period is the ideal time to secure a valuable domain.The sunrise periods is followed by the landrush period. This is the period during which domain names become available without trademark or alternate TLD restriction.  Name.com will offer pre-orders for the landrush period.  If you have placed a pre-order with Name.com, we will attempt to register your domain the moment the land rush begins. Name.com has had tremendous success capturing pre-ordered domains during both the .Tel and .XXX landrush periods, making many great domains available to our customers.

After the landrush period the nTLDs will enter the general availability period. This is the period when domains do not have any additional restrictions, and the registry charges their standard rate to registrars such as Name.com. Some registries will hold onto what they consider to be premium domain names, and will auction them off to the highest bidder.  This can result in names being sold for huge sums of money.  According to Sedo Holding AG. who managed auctions for the .mobi registry, domains such as hosting.mobi sold for $101,000 and taxi.mobi sold for $75,111 at auction. Other registries will accept petitions for use of their premium domain names from parties that agree to develop the domains into active websites.  This can help build an nTLD’s brand, and result in excellent websites.

If you have made it this far, I am sure some of you are asking the big question “Is it worth it?”  Not unlike higher education or a chicken burrito, the answer depends on what you put into it.  However, I think we can agree that domains such as cupcakes.nyc and fishing.miami are far more brandable than many of the currently available .com alternatives.

As far as the investment worth of the nTLDs, it can be difficult to speculate. However, NameBio.com reports sales of .Org domains such as autoinsurance.org for $440,000, engineering.org for $198,000, and revolution.org for $120,000.  One would imagine the individuals that registered these domains found them to be a sound investments.

We look forward to helping you with similar opportunities with the new TLDs and, as always, bringing you the same legendary customer support that comes with all our domains.

American as Apple Pie: .US Domain Names (for a bigger piece of the pie)

We’re not going to lie to you. America rocks. There’s no better way to let your customers and website visitors know your pro.

There’s no better way to communicate to visitors that you’re proudly made in the USA than with a .US domain extension, and right now your .US domain names are only $3.99! Now it’s more affordable than ever to be part of the growing “buy local” movement. As in both the United States and abroad, an established American presence online will help  instill consumer confidence in your brand.

Benefits of .US domain names:

  • Appeal to Americans and compete successfully globally
  • Use our Domain Search tool for .US domains
  • Protect your trademark – If you’ve got the .com get the .US before someone else does
  • SEO – Google can rank your site higher for .US searches
  • World’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural country

Restrictions on .US domain registrations

  • Any United States citizen or resident
  • Any United States entity, such as organizations or corporations
  • Any foreign entity or organization with a bona fide presence in the US

 

Start your .US search

Halloween Costumes 2012: The Namers Dress as the nTLDs (New TLDs)

With anything we do we need focus, so Nic and Nick, in compliance and web dev, respectively, came up with the theme for our 2012 Halloween Contest: Dress up Halloween, costumes, "new TLDs", ntlds, "the new dots", domains, office, contestlike the nTLDs, or the New Dots as we call them here in the office. Turns out with as many as the new domain extensions that have been made public, there’s a lot of opportunity for creativity. Yes, we would have someone honor .WANG and .PORN. But we’ll only show you his backside, as even though it’s Halloween, we still don’t thing you deserved to be that frightened.

In no particular order, but with the greatest pride, we bring you our nTLD costumes.

Representing .MONSTER, heres Dave McBreen…rawr!

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Not to be outdone, here’s his brother, Scott, as .WINES…

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And always creative and popular with the boys, Shannon goes for the trifecta with .VIDEO, .GAME and .BOX

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Pat “P-Mo” Moroney blossoms with .FLOWERS

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Ashley is selfless as usual, dressed up as .YOU (also .YOGA) (with the reflection on my head you can see infinity)

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Sean reminds people everywhere what .HIP is

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Nic sets the bar as .LEGO

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Chani looks like heaven but she’s actually .RUN because you do NOT want to mess with a Weeping Angel on Dr. Who…

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Nick instills in us .FAITH and .LDS

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Pat “P-Fro” Ramsey is a .DOCTOR and recommends at least a beer a day…

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Cedar graces us with .PINK

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John scores major points for wearing the least appropriate (dude, there’s a front on this too) costume in a workplace by being .SKI, .PORN, .MINI, .WANG, .BEER and awesome all in one.

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Parker serves up his Colorado Buffaloes Ralphie mascot, while highlighting the importance of .PET and .UNIVERSITY

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Dave “Fitz” Fitzgerald is a .RODEO .STAR (his rope reportedly borrowed by .LEGO and not returned)

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YET NO ONE COULD COMPETE WITH CEDAR’S .BABY

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Little Delia Rose rocks the Ladybug. AND THE WINNER IS…