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The New Friday the 13th

The new Friday the 13th is tomorrow, Wednesday the 13th, when ICANN has its “reveal” of all the applicants for new TLDs.  The press, however, is already leaking a number of them.

It’s a fascinating list, notably devoid of many brands seeking protection or ownership in the TLD level.  While the final reveal may show many more, it looks like ICANN’s pitch to brands fell short.  We’ll know more tomorrow.

But it’s clear ICANN hits a home run in its money grab with the other TLDs on the list and presumably a lot more in the generic word category.  My partner, Brad Newberg, put it all in prospective.  Here’s his email to me:

“I look at this list and my mind goes blank except for one big blinking sign: No one will ever use this system.

“The vast majority of these extensions are absolutely useless and, given that I guarantee if you go outside and ask 100 random people if they know about the TLD expansion — the day before the reveal mind you — you will be lucky if you find two that say yes.  I just cannot see this ever being adopted by the public.

“Even if people wanted to adopt it, the TLDs that will be in existence are too random to be of any use to the general public.  By way of example, I see vodka on the list (and .wine and .beer), but no other alcohol. Let’s say they end up also having .tequila and .spirits. I’m a consumer. I’m looking for my favorite rum producer, Bacardi…

“Hmmmm, is there a dot rum? Should I put in bacardi.rum? I think there’s a dot vodka, but that can’t be it. Oh wait a second, how about bacardi.liquor? No such website. Hmmm, what else is liquor called? Spirits, right spirits. No, that’s silly, it must be under bacardi.rum. Hmmm, no such website. Forget it, I’m going back to bacardi.com.

“Of course, this all assumes I’d even bother typing in a url, even though I’m likely going to a search engine, making the URL irrelevant in the first place.”

Just imagine all the money that will be wasted by foolish investors in all these TLDs, assuming they can get financing.  The list is so duplicative that any value is diminished.  A complete waste of money.  But it sure made ICANN millions.  Not bad for a non-profit.

And, of course, as so many have been saying from the start, this creates a nightmare for brands, consumers, law enforcement, non-profits, regulators and others in the second level.  Imagine how millions of new SLDs in thousands of new TLDs will wreak havoc on the ecosphere.  Of course, that assumes any of this absurd TLDs are successful.  But successful or not, brands, institutions and individuals will be baited into applying for SLDs in hopes of riches or protection of their reputation.  Lots of money for domain name sellers.  All wasted money for consumers, brands, and institutions.

This is truly a tragedy for the Internet.  While the ITU, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and a host of other politicians debate governance issues, ICANN is cultivating a disaster for the folks that really matter – the users.  Maybe the ITU and other governmental bodies continuing their never ending debate and lack of decision making in akin to Louis XVI’s blind denial of what his subjects needed, even on the day he was executed.  C’est la guerre.

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About the author

We Expert Doug Wood had written 40 articles for Party of We

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