The city of London has announced it will apply for its own web domain for the city. It is the latest municipality to admit coveting such an address: New York, Paris, Sydney, Rome and Berlin are all reportedly considering one as well. As, if and when these cities do file for their own top level domain names, the arguments behind this niche approach to online marketing will become more clear - and hopefully help companies make a decision whether they want to follow suit.
Earlier this year Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (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. The marketing advantageous are obvious, but the plan is controversial for a number of reasons.
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.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau has also come out against it, saying 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.
The Association of National Advertisers made similar comments, noting the scheme could cost advertisers thousands of dollars.
Not Helpful to SEO
One group most likely not to bother with the new names are marketers that rely primarily on SEO, Search Engine Land writes. "They won’t have any super ranking powers. 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.