Under new guidelines laid
out by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the non-profit group that administers Internet suffixes such as .com, .net, .biz, etc., any person or business can get their own personalized domain suffix. Now, instead of having to register with a suffix like .com or .net a financial institution could register a domain ending in “.bank” or any other myriad of options. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for online branding and website domain registration. The limiting factor seems to be price as the initial application fee is $185,000 and $25,000 per year to maintain just one domain suffix.
So what does all of this mean for you as a business trying to compete in the online space? There are a few ways I can see this having an impact on your business.
Increase Branding – although you may not have the money to buy “.xyzcompany” domain suffix, you might register your current domain with a registrar who owns an industry specific domain suffix for a nominal fee.
Trademark Infringement – if you’re a high profile business or own a popular trademark you might have to deal some legal battles if someone tries to register a domain suffix that infringes on your business or trademarks.
Diversification – this change in domain guidelines will broaden the avenues online (who thought it was possible!?) to allow companies to diversify better online and allow people to find what they are looking for more easily.
Improved Messaging – communicating the right message may become clearer through this change as it will be easier for your audience to understand what you are about. For instance, if you are a plumber, having a website with the domain suffix “.plumber” will allow your audience to more easily recognize and understand what it is you do.
I’m sure there are numerous ways yet to be determined how these new guidelines will affect businesses and many will not become apparent until after the new guidelines take effect in early 2012. There is one thing that is clear, this affect is sure to be a pretty big game changer.