Source: Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

.Branding: It's the End of the .com World as We Know It


A new era in Internet policy begins June 20th. That's when brands begin moving to the right of dot com, when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), officially announces the next evolution of domain names.

On that day, ICANN will open the application process for between 400 and 2,000 new top-level domain (TLD) extensions in keywords (like .sport and .law), cities (like .NYC) and brands (like .MTV), in a move that has been in the works since 2004.

Moving beyond .com, .net, .org., .edu and country codes, individuals and organizations will have much greater room for imaginative, representative addresses.

Ben Crawford, CEO of the U.K.-based domain registry, has been giving a "use it or lose it" message to companies to acquire extensions…or else. So far, companies like Canon, Hitachi, Unicef, and Deloitte say they’ll do so, as well as the cities of Paris and New York, and the League of Arab States, which will be grabbing .Arab.

"If I were CMO of, say, MTV, with thousands of websites, I can unify them under .MTV, under one family. It helps me build my umbrella brand off of the back of consumer brands people are familiar with, like JerseyShore.MTV," commented Crawford to MediaPost. "If you are Barclays, it's as easy as telling consumers that 'it's only Barclays if it says .barclays.'" 

The TLD extensions deter counterfeiters, phishers, and scammers, particularly volatile in luxury brands where millions are spent by knock-off players with false pitches to consumers.

Domains like .com and .net, with no value-add, will be replaced with addresses that hold information, such as .xxx  for adult content, and locally focused sites will use their city TLD, cultures a community TLD, and businesses their industry TLD, .law, or their own .brands.

"Regardless of its impact on accessing or suppressing adult content online, .xxx is poised to be the extension that incites 1,000 new top-level domains, and now is the time to prepare for the impending Internet revolution," blogs Crawford.

What a difference a .dot makes. The IPocalypse may turn out to be redemptive after all.

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