Could TLDs Provide Funding for DMOs?
As you know, ICANN has opened up a virtually unlimited sale on new, top-level domain names (TLDs), which we analyzed in a recent post: 12 Things To Know About New Domains.
At the same time, the lovely William from Think! Social Media and I were discussing the finer points of alternatives to hotel tax funding for DMOs. See: Top 5 Wrong Assumptions in Destination Marketing.
Which is an interesting perspective, considering that the agency that promotes tourism (among other London things) would control this domain name.
But what if London & Partners decided to fund the DMO with the revenue from the sale of these domains?
Now, before we go any further, for the record, I do not like, approve or endorse this expansion of the TLDs. I, like many others, see it as a pointless exercise to fill the pockets of ICANN.
But, I also know that it is going to happen.
Back to the funding idea.
Currently it appears that London & Partners is simply looking to protect their brand and the city. But, if London & Partners controls the domain (remember, .london), they also control who can use or purchase a domain name with that extension.
The theory goes that a .london address would immediately signal an official site, certified by London & Partners.
Would members purchase that prestige, for say, $100 per year? More?
And if you had 1,000 members or small businesses by a .london domain, suddenly, London & Partners is looking at an extra $100k to spend. Yeah, yeah, I know nerds, you actually have to pay to run the registry, etc, etc, blah, blah.
Could that actually work?
Could cities such as London, New York, LA and Tokyo fund their DMO through a city-specific TLD?
Ugh, I know I just said that DMOs should not be in the technology business, but I would rather DMOs be in the technology business than out of business.
I am not sure this funding model can, or should work, but I will be interested to see what .london becomes.