Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 09:28 Written by Ed Muller Wednesday, 30 September 2009 08:32
What do we see when we look into the future of domains? What examples can history provide to guide us? What pressures do we face now that will alter our course?
This is a document in progress, aimed at discovering our possible futures in the domain space as both corporate entities and private individuals and entrepreneurs. We welcome all input on this subject.
A few considerations that should probably be treated as true for the purpose of this discussion:
- ICANN goes Global - US regulates only as oversight in existing TLD space.
- New TLD process is approved - possibly in 2010
- Financial Markets are stable - lower average volatility than 4Q 2008
- Domain Sales continue - the right to buy and sell domains, and their meaning in search & branding remains strong
- Hardliners like China, Iran Turkey and even moderates like Brazil will take a defensive stance to domains and attempt to change rules in the existing namespace.
- Offensive gTLD names may face a great deal of opposition, lowering their turnover value
- Normally neutral names may become deprecated if not explicitly protected by copyright or trademark
- Buying .com domains may no longer be an explicit right protected by freedom
- Country Code domains will provide a safe-haven for locals looking to express their thoughts and ideas
- .Us, .Co.Uk, .Fr, .De potentially becoming the monikers of free speech in their respective countries
- .COM behaves more like a corporate entity than a web presence address
- Cities and Countries will begin to demand their own names in all TLDs and a power struggle will ensue globally.
- More than likely, existing names will not be affected or stolen, but the right to sell might be diminished.
- Buying GEO names in your own TLD may simply vanish as a right, depending on your country of residence.
- Oodles of paperwork to even get approved to buy a new city/state name
- Existing GEOs may be provided with a static buyout offer by ICANN
- Namespace flooded by a TLD for every word in the alphabet
- Thousands of copyrights and trademarks will be filed once the new TLD process is approved.
- ICANN has made it clear it adheres to trademark laws, so this is likely how TLDs will play out
- Lawsuits will ensue over quaint extensions - .BIG vs .LARGE, will drag out over years
- Long slow road to proper implementation - most software only supports auto-inking/indexing of com/net/org
- Countries begin to speak their mind on the TLD process and slow it down even further.
- New TLD spaceowners build massive campaigns and launch globally in a way not previously experienced. Auctions for generic landrush names go into the millions.
- Some hardware will include the prepaid .TLD as buttons/icons/keys etc with big payouts for device manufacturers from the TLD marketing agents
- Cheap techniques and scandals are uncovered. Corrupt TLDs are dragged to civil and criminal court. Smart TLDs sell out to big corporations.
- After the massive launches which happened over a 5 year period, the new TLD namespaces prove to have limited value as COM remains the most powerful commodity. Non-premium domain value in the outer TLDs plumets. Please refer to the Mortgage Meltdown or Holland Tulip Craze for further inspiration. Corporations take over all the gTLDs and pronounce them safe for everyone.
- Value of COM as a corporate entity continues unsurpassed, but for the average unfunded domainer becomes daunting.
Written by Ed Muller
When .CM was announced, I grabbed my resources and started looking for something that could be an earner. I decided to forgo the normal process of buying a domain - evaluation based on keyword + traffic, and instead turned to raw dynamics: traffic only.
To me, it appeared that .CM had no real value as a WORD+Extension purchase. The starting price was too high and the players were too big. With Namejet as Enom's bidding platform I couldn't see costs staying below a cool several grand for even the most innocuous names. So what's a guy like me with a short budget to do?
First I pulled up the Alexa 100 and shuffled through it for domains that might convert well into clicks if traffic was misdirected. Generic names like Gmail (Google was unable to secure this term in other ccTLDs), Amazon, MSN, etc., are all frequently typed into browsers and can easily support very generic ad space. So I applied for top domains in this list that I felt were worth a shot.
What was the result of this application?
amazon.cm Enom Rejected gmail.cm Enom Rejected
So I tried another route.
I own a few typos myself of generic terms that do well - and some are odd enough that they would escape any scrutiny from a simple advisory panel and I felt they were also worth a shot, despite the high price.
I sent in my application for these terms. Result? Rejected again (I won't post those because they are my personal private stash)
At this point it's a week to go, so I decided to try a final route: Alexa's list for .CM domains (yes, Alexa is able to track even typos with bad extensions). At the top were three unregisterables: Ringo.CM (Cameroon ISP), Gmail.CM (I was already rejected), and Google.CM (That is TM territory where I won't tread). Further down the list was the CM Government and CM Registrar, along with a few other terms, including Weather.CM. Well, I thought Weather must surely be worth a shot?
weather.cm Enom Rejected
So what does this tell us about the .CM process?
- You didn't have a chance to begin with
- What is being sold was already proven by Kevin Ham to be worthless
- What remains is worth Keyword value only, and can only be resold for keyword value
- The domains that you should really want are still making someone else money
In the old con man's game we call this the bait and switch. Hold out a gold watch and give them a rotten apple before they can trade it in or ask for a refund. Then run away. Hide in some far away region where no one would ever look for you.
Like for instance, Cameroon.