Why Should I Care About New gTLDs?
Posted by Jennifer Wolfe on 01st April 2013 in 360 Blog

We aren’t often given a heads up about a major paradigm shift. Imagine if you knew that the internet would change everything back in 1994. Would you have responded differently, captured internet real estate or planned your business for a transforming model of interacting with consumers?
What if you knew social media and app technology would start revolutions in the Middle East or change how people build and maintain relationships? Would you have planned differently? Well, this time, we know. We know that half of the world’s brands and 900+ generic top level domains are about to enter the internet universe. We know that Google, Amazon and Microsoft have made bold moves and will drive consumer change. We know that ICANN is likely to open up another round of generic top level domains in the next few years and that the internet could be in for a profound shift. Like finding content on the radio and newspapers evolved to television as the source of content and television has evolved to the internet as the source for content, the domain name structure as we know it is about to change and evolve to something other than .com. While it’s easy to not believe change will happen, find all the flaws in the system and sit on the sidelines waiting for it to fail, the innovators who see this change coming and think strategically about how to capitalize on the change will be the real winners in business. And, the companies that wait and see what happens will be struggling to catch up in a digital age that doesn’t hesitate to leave behind companies who don’t stay one step ahead of consumer needs. Any company with a .com needs to care about ICANN’s gtlds. If they applied, they need to care about how they strategically use this important asset to not just mirror what they have on .com, but innovate to capture the real value. Companies that didn’t apply need to understand where their brand fits in a new internet universe and own new domain names that may transform their business. And, everyone needs to assess how their search, mobile and app and social media strategies need integrate as a result of this paradigm shift. The time to plan is now. Waiting until it happens will leave many companies without the domain names it wants, much like back in the 1990s when .com became quickly saturated and domainers founded a new industry of owning domain names that others might want. While there is more protect to help stop direct cyberquatting, typosquatting will continue to be a problem and brands need to be prepared to innovatively build new strategies and defensively look for economies of scale in protecting its brand online. Everyone with a .com should care about ICANN’s new gTLD program. The time to get the facts is now.