Thursday, June 23, 2011

Would You Buy a Domain on a New TLD

If you purchase a new TLD (top-level domain) from ICANN, you have the potential to make a lot of money. You also have the potential to lose a lot of money.
Speaking of fees, if you want one of the new domain suffixes and are not a wealthy individual or company, get ready to put a major dent in your bank balance. The Icann application alone will be $185,000, with an annual fee of $25,000. Who sets this fee? Why, Icann, of course. Is it reasonable? Icann says it is. Why is it reasonable? Because Icann says, based on evidence that is less than persuasive, that it needs the money for things like legal costs.
So if you're not able to buy, would you buy example.example? Domain owners have on occasion experienced difficulties when existing registrars have gone out of business, but they've largely been able to get past the problem by virtue of the fact that the TLD's are not owned by the registrar. If you pay somebody $6 for your example.example domain, though, and they decide they're not making enough money to justify the continued registration of the TLD, your domain name vanishes - and even if it's worth it to you to try to acquire the TLD I'm expecting that ICANN wouldn't only want you to increase your annual registration cost by $25,000 to keep your domain going, it would want a new application fee - and would reserve the right to reject your application.

Particularly during the early years of the Internet there were a number of efforts to create alternatives to domain names, usually by allowing people to buy keywords and key phrases that would cause people using the sponsor's service, or perhaps a browser plugin, to navigate to the registrant's (ostensibly relevant) website. None ever acquired the volume of users necessary to succeed.
A partial bypass already exists for end users. It's called Google – though this also applies to Bing and other search engines. Internet users are learning that it's easier, almost always with better results, to type the name of the enterprise they're searching for into the browser's search bar than to guess at a domain name and type that guess into the address bar. Google isn't the DNS, but its method suggests new approaches. To that end, some technologists have suggested creating a DNS overlay, operated in a peer-to-peer way that incorporates modern search techniques and other tools. Making this workable and secure would be far from trivial, but it's worth the effort
If you can come up with a viable, superior alternative to the URL and get a sufficient volume of users to adopt to your system, you will become very rich.

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