New TLDs coming – Good or Bad?

By | May 12, 2007

www.gifA short while ago, ICANN announced they would be looking to approve some more new domain TLDs come August 2008. The announcement was made public about two days ago on their website.

These TLDs or to be more specific, these gTLDs, will be adding to the current array of the gTLDs already in use, and it is going to be similar to .com or .net TLDs. For those who don’t know what is a TLD, it stands for Top Level Domain (extension) and there are basically two kinds, the gTLDs and the ccTLDs, with the former type meant for common use around the world, and the latter type for country specific sites.

With so many gTLDs already in existence, I am not particularly looking forward to having even more on the Web. Sure, it will give people another chance to rush in and register some generic domains for themselves, but what is the point when there is no value to it?

If the current crop of “new” TLDs are not making any impact on the Web, should these new ones do? Case in point would be .info and .biz; people are still ditching them or parking them with minimal results, simply because there is too much room on the Web to accomodate these TLDs, and they were introduced more than 6 years ago, which is pretty much a long time on the Web.

Most new TLDs are not developed as proper websites, they are just parked in the hope of selling them away in the future, and there are currently millions of these domains unused and unknown to all but their owners. So with more new gTLDs on the scene, will it improve matters? Or will it be clogging up the Web when most people have no intention of developing their domains?

I feel that the addition of more new TLDs only ends up strengthening the .com extension, but weakening all the other TLDs overall, because folks will only look up to the .com as the default. I do too. If I want to look up a site but wasn’t sure of the extension (looks like I’ll be having more trouble remembering extensions come next year), I will always start with the .com.

New extensions have little value, because there is no demand or competition for them. This situation only exists for .com because the market for .com is totally saturated. In contrast, an extension like .ws, which is marketed as an all round gTLD meaning “WebSite”, but is actually a ccTLD standing for “Western Samoa”, many generic names under this extension cannot even sell beyond their registration fees, when normally they would command thousands of dollars or more, if they were .com.

I suspect the real reason behind these new TLD additions is just so to make the new TLD registrars some money, and nothing more beyond that. So at this point, I am not feeling terribly excited over this piece of news from ICANN, if past history is anything to go by.

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