HC2011: Impact of New TLDs on Hosting Companies

It’s presentations day for OpenSRS today at HostingCon 2011. We have a pair of speaking slots, and things got started with Adam Eisner’s talk about the impact of new TLDs for hosting companies this morning.

Of course, not everyone is at HostingCon 2011 this week, so for the benefit of all of you not in San Diego, here’s a summary of what Adam talked about. If you are at HostingCon, and missed seeing the presentation live, then you missed out on your chance to win a pair of sweet noise cancelling headphones. Jeffrey Cohen of InternetLitigators was at the presentation and walked away with the prize – congrats to you, Jeffrey, and enjoy the prize.

New TLDs Were Officially Approved at ICANN Singapore

The approval of what are referred to as “New TLDs” was the big news out of the last ICANN meeting in Singapore a few months back. Basically, that decision paved the way for the creation of hundreds of new domain extensions – think .nyc or .eco, and even .apple, .canon and .coke and you get the idea about how far reaching this evolution will be.

This profound change in how the domain name system works will have big impacts on hosting companies. If you are in that business, you’ll obviously want to be aware of what’s happening so you can make sure you’ve positioned yourself to take advantage of the opportunities that new TLDs may present.

Here’s an overview of what Adam talked about (slides are below in the embedded Slideshare):

  • Right now we have 22 gTLDs (and hundreds of country code TLDs). In the next few years, New TLDs will add as many as 500 new TLDs to the root.
  • ICANN started talking about new TLDs years ago, and approved the start of discussions about adding new TLDs to the root in 2008. It took a long time, and a lot of discussion with various stakeholder groups to get to where we are today (and we’re not quite done yet).
  • In June 2011, at the Singapore ICANN meeting, ICANN approved the Applicant Guidebook and officially launched the New TLDs program.
  • There are three different categories of New TLDs to consider:
    • Brand-based: .coke, .canon
    • Generic: .search, .blog, .cloud
    • Community/Interest Group: .eco, .gay, .toronto
  • Key point: .XXX is not part of the New TLDs program. It’s a separate new extension that is launching this fall (and OpenSRS is accredited).
  • Key dates:
    • January to April 2012: applications accepted
    • April 2012: Cards turned over
    • November: Applications approved
    • Sometime after that: first New TLDs go live in the root
    • Maybe an additional application/approval round after that
  • Opportunity: Improved end-user perception – having a New TLD raises your stature
    • Get your own: no sharing the stage, your name on the right side of the dot, full control! All the good names are available on your own TLD.
  • Costs:
    • $185,000 US Application Fee (if approved)
      • could be more (auctions, multiple groups after the same extension)
      • Marketing, legal fees, etc.
  • How to:
    • Fill out the application, paying special attention to the Guidebook.
    • Get a partner who has technology experience, and knows the their way around the ICANN world.
  • The Other Opportunity: Reach new customers by selling others: hundreds of new TLD extensions to offer.
    • New segments, new markets.
    • .MUSIC, .LONDON, .SKI and more!!!
    • It won’t be easy…look at .com vs. the other, newer gTLDs like .info, tel, etc.
    • What makes a “sellable” extension?
      • Priced smartly (less than $30/year)
      • No wacky rules
      • Follows the standards laid down by current gTLDs
      • Resonates with end-users (or a segment of end-users)
    • How to sell them?
      • Most new TLDS will partner with Registrars
      • Brands won’t offer names to the public
      • Integration should be pretty much the same as current gTLDs.

The takeaways:

  • There’s an opportunity to secure a brand or community
  • New TLDs represent new markets and new opportunities
  • Having your own TLD means full control of the namespace and anything is possible.

And here’s the full presentation for those who want the slides to go with the summary:

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