Tick tock, tick tock… new gTLD opportunities to future proof your online business

The new gTLDs could future proof your business

Tick tock, tick tock ….The clock is ticking faster and fast towards the start of the DotBigBang and when the new internet universe is created.

According to Big Bang theory, the universe began as a very small, dense singularity with no stars, atoms, form, or structure. Then about 14 billion years ago space expanded very quickly (hence the name "Big Bang"), resulting in the formation of atoms, which eventually lead to the creation of stars and galaxies.

Ironically, the World Wide Web started in a similar manner  at the European Organization for eNuclear Research; universally known as CERN. This globally recognized, truly international scientific establishment is famous among many other things for its work in establishing the existence of the Higgs Boson particle and the Higgs field (the latter being linked to a hypothetical field suggested as the explanation for the expansion of space during the first fraction of a second in  the creation of the universe – in short the “big bang”). Twenty years ago around this time of the year,  CERN created the first ever website.  Today there are more than 200 million of them.  Tomorrow?  who knows.

The World Wide Web is now at the tipping point of massive expansion - the DotBigBang; it will be moving from 22 gTLDs (.com, .net, .org etc) to well over 1,000 extensions (.nyc, .bank, .secure, .sucks and our current favorite, .ninja) over the space of two short years. If you do the math, that’s around 20 new domain extensions every week.

If you can remember the birth of the World Wide Web, you will know that it was a relatively slow burn affair which gathered pace and aggression when companies and individuals realized that opportunities existed in  building  brand value, internationalizing a business or simply making money by buying popular domains and selling them at a profit. Over the past 20 years, this lucrative market has been growing rapidly. For example insurance.com was purchased for $16m and hotels.com was purchased for $11m.

This time around, things will be a bit different. The potential for cybersquatting is somewhat mitigated by the introduction of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) mechanism put in place to alert brand owners if someone attempts to register their trademarked terms.

Despite this mechanism, one would still expect a lot of cybersquatting and a lucrative aftermarket buying and selling domain names. The roll-out of new commercial new gTLDs will be rapid and brand owners need to be ready. Every brand owner needs to be crystal clear on which trademarks they will lodge in the TMCH, and which terms and suffixes they will or will not register. In order to do so, every brand owner needs to take a look at their corporate IP assets together with its business direction going forward.

The Trademark Clearinghouse is a critical component for a brand’s trademark protection online, therefore NetNames has worked hard to become one of the first Registrar to complete  integration with the Trademark Clearinghouse and has been  accepting  trademark registrations on behalf of brand owners since the TMCH opened in March 2013.

NetNames understands that budgetary planning is also a crucial component for brand owners success under new gTLDs, and provides its clients with a potential timeline for when the registrations  key to brands are due to be delegated and what the relevant costs will be.

With potentially 20 new TLDs being launched on a weekly basis from May 2013, it’s time again for brand owner to stop and think about their domain strategy once more.  Without all the facts, it is enough to confuse the savviest of domain name experts.  NetNames considers the DotBigBang to be so strategically important to a brands’ future online strategy and provides organizations with a free analysis of current portfolios, a recommended registration strategy and advice on where new gTLDs will fit into the organization’s domain name registration strategy.

New gTLD Team, NetNames

14 May 2013