Domain Extensions and Your Business: Apply Law of Unintended Consequences

by Sara Woznicki

This fall the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will begin releasing 20 new domain name extensions per week until a whopping 1,400 new extensions are live. In just the first week, the number of extensions available will nearly double. Domains will be available in various languages such as Arabic and Chinese; they’ll include descriptors such as .law and .store. Soon, even brand names (.apple, .citi, and .NYC, to name a few) can be appended to domains. That means thousands upon thousands of new domain + extensions will be available for the taking – and the hijacking.

The good: The intent of introducing these new suffixes is to expand the possibilities for domain names, as well as to define the type of website more clearly. ICANN believes the new extensions will promote entrepreneurism on the web.

The bad: The cost of protecting your intellectual property and implementing a domain strategy will increase by an unknown multiplier— this includes time to monitor your domain properties, as well as funding a dramatically increased volume of “must-have” domain names to discourage typo-squatters. Small businesses will be most affected, due to the new drain on resources. Even filing a claim for dispute resolution carries a $1,300 price tag.

The ugly: If you’re looking for more information on this topic, don’t bother with ICANN’s website or Facebook page. They’re needlessly difficult to comprehend, particularly if you know what you’re looking for.

Best advice: Now’s the time to articulate your domain strategy and consider auctioning/dropping domains that don’t fit. You’ll likely need more resources than ever, once the extension explosion begins.

Share your domain story or comment on ICANN here. We’d like to hear from you.