gTLDs: Vanilla Ice or Jay Z ?

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There is a battle shaking out for the real estate on the Web. The new gTLDs are in various stages of sunrise and landrush phases before they are available to the general public. What this means is there will be a virtually an unlimited number of new meaningful (categorized) URL’s (domains) available to individuals and business owners

There are currently a little over 20 right of the dot extensions in use on the web, though in the United States, .com, .net, and .org are still the most prevalent.

Currently a .com domain with an exact word generic can be very valuable. Furniture.com is an example of an exact name generic that has significant value, it resolves higher in furniture searches and has the advantage of dominating the category (furniture sales). In fact using the domain value estimator Estibot the value for furniture.com is over 5 million dollars. But soon there will be an entire .furniture extension. How will that effect the value of the furniture.com domain ?

The value of a .com domain has been reinforced by the 100′s of millions of dollars annually spent on advertising these URL’s by large businesses over the last 15+ years, that money and pervasiveness will not dwindle soon, but the new gTLD’s do offer significantly more web real estate to be made available and accordingly the marketing dollars will flow making them more of a permanent fixture.

Is this a big cash grab for ICANN and its registrars or is there some real value to end users ? The answer is YES. Some argue that since very few of the other extensions currently available (.us, .biz,.travel etc.) have not been successful it is a ominous indicator of the success of the new gTLD’s. This point has some validity, but this new release of web “real estate” will bring creativity and unique business models surrounding each top level domain. Its up to the registries to create the right environment and opportunities for businesses to take advantage of it and to provide clarity to the customers on how best to use their new domains. Innovation and entrepreneurship are always a good thing.

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