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Analyst: New Top-Level Domains A Bad System

Seven new top-level domains have been added to the Internet’s naming scheme, but one analyst says it may well do more harm than good.

The new domains are: .info (general use), .biz (general use), .pro (professionals), .name (personal Web sites), .aero (airlines), .museum (museums) and .coop (business cooperatives), with one company in each category chosen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to be the registry operator.

But David Curle, senior industry analyst with Outsell, Inc., says ICANN dropped the ball on this one. “It seems crazy, because the criteria for what goes into what category is not very specific, [and categories] overlap a bit. Now that there’s .com and .biz, how will people know which is specific for a company? There’s a .aero, but why not a .rail or .auto?”

In addition, Curle says the new classifications will only serve to further confuse users. “From a user’s point of view, it doesn’t help me find what I want to find. Is the company in a .com or .biz?” Curle says.

That’s why analyst organization GartnerGroup suggests that “any enterprise that has or plans to have an Internet presence should develop a domain naming strategy that goes beyond .com -- with multiple names registered in a subset of available registries, including generic top-level domains (old and new), country code domains, and in the new support for multilingual domain registration.”

This strategy could cost enterprises $70,000 up front, Gartner estimates, with about a $20,000 yearly outlay for additional domains related to new products, mergers and acquisitions.

Curle also sees more litigation, as companies scramble to add their names to even more  top-level domains. “If you grab new domain similar to another companies, the company could challenge you. What you’ll see is that companies will register new domains and see what happens,” Curle says. For instance, what happens when one outfit gets yourcompany.com and another lands yourcompany.biz?

The new top-level domains aren’t expected to be in use until mid-next year, and more could be added. According to a report on ICANN’s Web site, future top-level domains could be added, but only after careful evaluation of the first seven. Some of the initial top-level domains not added were .kids, .mall., .cash and .health. – Keith Ward

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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