Len Devanna offers over 24 years of digital innovation experience at Fortune 500 brands. He helps companies with all aspects of their digital ecosystem, including online strategy, engagement marketing, and social brand management.
The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employer and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of anyone other than myself.
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This isn't a for / against post... Rather, I'm trying to learn more on the topic. This feels like a big and complex change, and I've been surprised by the lack of discussions across the blogosphere... I'd think this would be a rampant topic... Perhaps I'm missing the discussion. If so, links are welcome.
To date, we've been saddled with the same handful of TLD's (top level domains). You may not know the term TLD, but you use them everyday... Think .COM, .ORG, GOV, etc;. TLD's are complimented by geo specific domains (.FR, .US, .EU, etc).
In simplest terms, the change likely to be introduced next year will allow us to register *anything* as a top level domain - at a hefty cost.
So, we could set off to register the brand EMC as a top level domain for a projected cost of $185k. If I put on my brand steward hat, we absolutely need to do this. But, from a cost POV, is it imperative? And - does acquiring the EMC TLD truly protect the brand?
As I consider the explosive growth of the web, and from an ease of use perspective for the audience, there's clearly value in grabbing a brands domain. As example, it would enable new, more simplified urls such as
EMC (as opposed to EMC.com)
I suppose the syntax of emails that we've known for years would also change... User@EMC - no more .com.
Good stuff, right? But, consider all of the brand grabbing we've seen within the existing TLD's. I have to imagine this will be even more rampant under the new strategy. Beyond a rather hefty price-tag and some registration process issues to overcome, what prevents me from registering other brands?
Even more importantly, how about more common terms - Storage? Business? Commerce? I'd imagine we'll see a mass rush to scoop up such TLD's by those with very deep pockets only to subsequently sell them to the right bidder. In theory, if I owned support, as example, there's nothing stopping me from running EMC.support IBM.support, etc;.
Further complicating the issue is the geo aspect. While it's suggested that only legit government agencies will be able to grab TLD's like America, California, and Bulgaria, I think we've seen how that goes with the .TV domain from Tuvalu. The risk - Will EMC.California be a legit EMC site? Can the EMC brand now be used by 'Eddie's Muffins and Chowder" if they're based in California (assuming a legit agency picks up .California?).
This is complex stuff. We spend a significant amount of $$ each year protecting and managing the thousands of domains we own. Given ongoing global economic uncertainty, and what feels like a myriad of complicated and unanswered questions, I'm just not feeling comfortable with where all of this could go.
Again, not trying to take a for / against position... I see a need to evolve beyond the rather simplistic domain model in place today... Rather, am thirsty for more info and your POV.