Worried about having to shell out millions of dollars to protect their brands, several major companies are protesting the launch of a slew of new top-level domains — the suffixes like “.com” that appear at the end of Web-site names.
Verizon Communications, Marriott International and New York Life Insurance are among the companies arguing that the new domains could open the flood gates to Internet fraud and drastically increase their costs of doing business online. The companies also say there couldn’t be a worse time than a down economy to saddle them with the added expense.
The organization that oversees the Internet, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, plans to start selling the rights to an unlimited number of top-level domains next year. These domains are likely to take their names from popular subjects, types of businesses, geographic locations or even brand names, such as .bank, .hotel, .nyc or .verizon. >>Full Story
Thoughts// A good article on a frankly ridiculous subject that has been floating around interactive marketing circles for a while. ICANN, the masterminds at the control of this domain name headache, says that the current .com domain name landscape is ‘too crowded‘ and offering new domain extensions such as ‘.bank, .hotel, .nyc or .verizon‘ is the answer.
As some of our loyal members know, we are not so high on the current state of the .travel domain name, let alone any other domain name that does not end in .com.
I could rewrite the entire article, but it addresses the issue perfectly:
Companies fear that if they don’t register their trademarks at the new domains, their brand names could be hijacked, leading to mistrust of their brands, as well as Internet scams.
Companies are debating whether they should buy up the rights to operate their own brand-specific domains, such as .marriott or .nylife. They also are looking at registering their trademarks for more generic domains. For example, Marriott is considering acquiring the rights to Marriott.nyc, Marriott.travel or Marriott.vacations.
The application fee to operate a new top-level domain is $185,000. Companies that buy the rights to one would also bear the technical costs of running a registry, as well as the marketing costs of drawing consumers to the new sites.
Industry executives say consumers are likely to stick with their current Web-surfing habits, so they expect the new domains to have little business purpose. Web surfers are more apt to continuing visiting sites with the standard .com suffix, such as NYLife.com, instead of visiting a Web site with the address customerservice.nylife, says New York LIfe’s Mr. Hittel.
“It is difficult enough to get consumers to visit any domain name that doesn’t end with .com,” he says.
Companies say they have been through this before, pointing to earlier launches of such domains as .asia or .eu. They bought up hundreds of thousands of domains pre-emptively but say these sites either sit dormant or fail to generate traffic.
I could not have said it better myself.