Suddenly, it seems, the marketing industry has come to a decision about the value of a plan proposed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) earlier this year: in short, it has said, there is none. Briefly, in June ICANN voted to allow companies to create website addresses ending in their own names — that is, replacing the .com with, say, an Apple.com, or a place, such as Vegas.com.
This Top Level Domain, or TLD, plan was controversial when it was first announced. It was noted that the fees involved are huge, meaning not every company will be able to take this step. Also there is bound to be much dispute over which firm or entity is entitled to a seemingly generic name, such as Apple or Giant or Money or Food. National governments wondered how much influence ICANN officials, and trademark owners, should have over process of creating new domain suffixes.
There even was doubt in the ranks at ICANN itself about the plan. Esther Dyson, the founding chairwoman of ICANN said the various TLDs would be confusing to users, who have little attention space for brands anyway (via TechCrunch).
IAB Calls on ICANN to Withdraw
Now the marketing industry is weighing in. The Interactive Advertising Bureau is calling on ICANN to withdraw the program because it will cause incalculable financial damage to brand owners, it claims. Besides their large costs, such top-level domain addresses would also offer “cyber squatters” an opportunity to harm a brand’s integrity and/or profit.
"There appears to have been no economic impact research, no full and open stakeholder discussions, and little concern for the delicate balance of the Internet ecosystem,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO and President, IAB. Last week, the Association of National Advertisers made similar comments, noting the scheme could cost advertisers thousands of dollars.
It Doesn’t Help SEO
The plan also won’t help SEO and could complicated strategies in an already-changing environment. These TDLs “won’t have any super ranking powers,” Search Engine Land writes. “If you managed to get .money, that doesn’t mean you'll rank tops for money-related terms any more than people with the existing .travel domains do well for travel - because they don't." Also it notes, Google and Bing do not differentiate between .com and .biz, giving the .com site a boost. The same can be assumed for a corporate name site.
The Global Push Already Underway
There is something to be said for Dyson’s argument - that consumers will become even more confused. They are already absorbing a major change - the introduction of non-Latin based language world wide web addresses. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among the first countries to claim their own "country codes" - i.e. 'eg' for Egypt but written in Arabic script this year.