The Next Internet Revolution
In 2013 more than 1,000 new top level domain extensions are scheduled to begin rolling out. Joining the existing ranks of .com, .net and .info will be intriguing new strings like:
.web .search .game .shop .music .app .home .sport
The new gTLD list includes around 650 general dictionary words, not only English ones, and you can expect to see new websites like:
Everyone else will be shut out from these "walled garden" private internets.
Hundreds of brand domains and dozens of city domain categories will also be released. A massive amount of money will be spent promoting these domains which will very likely lead to a major shift in public perception of the domain name system. More info follows.
Sample potential brand domains:
Sample city domains:
There is no limit to the number of new domains which can be created in each dot category and in some cases may number in the millions. The scope of some of the new strings is gigantic, take a look at what the .news string and .store string might look like.
Hundreds and hundreds of dictionary words are being sold off. However...
In a disturbing news story headlined "Amazon.com won't offer domain names to the public" (June 14, 2012) Domain Name Wire sounded an early warning:
("Second level" refers to the words on the left of the dot).
Read an excerpt from one of Amazon's actual applications on the dot store page.
Another story examines ICANN's closed domain registry policy and mentions that the US Department of Justice and their European Union counterparts may become concerned about the possible implications:
The Domains: "The Top Policy Mistakes ICANN Made In The New gTLD Program" (July 24, 2012)
This Infographic displays actual excerpts from ICANN's mission statements and Bridgestone's official application for .tires as a closed gTLD. There is also a whole page about the .tires string here.
BrandShield Domain Research
BrandShield has provided an excellent online analysis of the new domains with a comprehensive chart showing which applications are open and which are closed. This research is an invaluable resource:
(Some strings are defined as "restricted" this simply means that anyone who wants to register a domain under that TLD must first be eligible. For example, one of the applications for the .inc domain extension states that only genuine incorporated companies may apply for a domain.
.INC is a hotly contested string with 11 applications. Five are for open registries, and six for restricted.)
SPECIAL NOTE SuperMonopolies defines "restricted" as indicating a type of "open" registry, and supports the concept subject to examining each individual application. However, as you can see from a small number of objections on the ICANN closed generic forum, some people define it as indicating "closed" registries. This is confusing.
SPECIAL NOTE: See Glossary at left for explanations of terms like ICANN and TLD.
The previous separation of registries from registrars served the internet very well in the past. The lessons from more than two decades have been learnt. Thousands of domains are traded on the open market every month. Why change a proven policy that promoted reasonably fair commerce?
What right has ICANN to sell off the exclusive rights to English dictionary words? (Not to mention a few in other languages).
How will the Chinese government (and other governments like France) react if a US company for example is granted "ownership" of a Chinese or French dictionary word?
Is there any evidence that ICANN understands the long term consequences of their flawed process? Why are they ignoring the fundamental principles that have underpinned the relatively equitable, fair and open access to assets in the dot com registry to date? (Verisign operates the dot com registry responsibly. If Verisign wishes to acquire a name like SecureData.com for example, they have to pursue it on the open market, the same as everyone else. They didn't pre-own it.)
How does this impending allocation of closed gTLDs fit with the responsibilities, mission statement and aims of the US Department of Commerce, and its so-called oversight of ICANN?
Doesn't the United States government and the Department of Commerce have a commitment against global economic monopolies?
Read about ICANN's claims here.
Many of the world's top corporations have applied for a brand TLD. There will be a domain name explosion. One of the first to announce their intention was Canon, for example. Others include Google, Apple and Microsoft. This means that in 2014 domains like Camera.canon, Search.google and Word.Microsoft will appear on the web.
Of course, comments on this site about "super monopolies" and "domain monopolies" do not apply to brand strings which are completely legitimate. (Except perhaps where the brand name is also a common word.)
I support the legitimacy of the proposed new brand TLDs with a few exceptions. (For example, brands that have usurped pre-existing geographic names for their own marketing such as .patagonia and .amazon which should not be allowed).
Under ICANN's plans, people such as the residents of Brazil will be blocked from owning domains such as Santarem.amazon (a city on the Amazon River) and countless other towns and regions whose precious history goes back thousands of years.
Similarly, the rollout of exclusive domain strings comprised of generic, dictionary words like .apple should at least be debated. Don't apple farmers have any rights?
At the very least, ICANN needs an independent tribunal to grant rights to a group of apple farmers, for example, to own a relevant .apple domain subject to certain conditions to protect the computer company called Apple.
Many major world cities have applied for their own strings. These will operate in the same way as ccTLDs with responsibility and administration handled by the city authorities themselves. So cities such as London, Paris and Sydney will have their own city domain systems. These cities will own names like Hotel.london, Perfume.paris and Police.sydney and will be able to utilize or sell them as they please.
These city domains will form part of the commercial infrastructure of the cities.
Again, comments on this site about "monopolies" do not apply to city TLDs. Each city can legitimately decide how to allocate these types of names to local residents, organizations and businesses in the fairest way possible. Let's hope the city authorities strive hard to allocate their domains fairly.
It will be fascinating to see how the City of London awards the domain Hotel.london to one of the numerous applicants. The City has the right to determine this dilemma. It's also a big responsibility for the City.
This is a small problem compared to the governance of the .hotel domain string. There will be many, many applicants for the London.hotel domain. Who will be the registry for the .hotel string? Will the London.hotel domain be available for sale, or will the .hotel registry own every one of the tens of thousands of relevant .hotel domains in existence, thus potentially becoming a global hotel giant almost overnight?
This is the crux of the problem that the world is just waking up to. If a single entity is allowed to own a valuable string like .hotel in exclusivity massive, sometimes insurmountable advantages will accrue over its competitors.
Here is an edited excerpt from the objection to closed .hotel and .hotels strings by Accor:
(See more about Accor's objection on the ICANN Forum 5 page.)
The question is, will ICANN take action over the looming crisis while there is still time?
SuperMonopolies.com A hypothetical analysis of the new top level domain names coming in 2013-14.
Contact Dave Tyrer: dave [at] supermonopolies.com
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