Can you become an ICANN approved online Registrar?

Most people are aware of .com, .biz, .gov, and .us (or country code) registries.  In order for businesses or an individual to be able to garner its piece of the online marketing and sales channels, there must be some online presence.  Typically, online presence requires some domain or web face that allows visitors to find out about the products or services they can acquire.

Presently, the online or web face is established by registering a .com, .biz, .gov, or .country code domain (technically these are referred to as top level domains).   However, there is a growing movement to create additional top level domains that can be used to register domains to give you or your business an online store front or face.

ICANN has a process for becoming a registry for new top level domains, such as .law, .lawyer, .xxx, .computers, etc… Many individuals are attempting to develop and become a registry for new top level domains.  The cost for becoming an ICANN approved online Registrar through this process can be anywhere from $50,000-$200,000 dollars.  However, if your online registry takes off, then the payoffs can be significant.

Currently, the .com top level domain is the main online sales channel for businesses or individuals.  However, if this sales channel becomes clogged with too many sites or purveyors, then it may be useful to have another more targeted sales channel that allows individuals to acquire the products or services they need.

One example, is the .xxx registry for pornography materials.  Mr. Lawley is attempting to create and promote this registry as a safe avenue for adults seeking these forms of materials.  Mr. Lawley’s business plan is to create a registry that is a clearly defined zone for adults that is out of reach of minors.  Mr. Lawley’s “ICM Registry” will use experts in the areas of privacy, free speech, and child protection to create a set of standards and guidelines for registering on the “ICM Registry.”

Certainly, having a targeted online sales channel for adults can have many advantages.  However, it is unclear whether or not, the .xxx top level domain will take off and become a successful venture.  The efforts to create these new top level domains may or may not be successful. However, it could be a more efficient mechanism for allowing visitors to sift through various purveyors of goods and/or services that meets their needs.

In one sense, it is no different, then permitting individuals to search for a book via title, author, subject or a call number in a library.  The title, author, subject or call numbers are in a sense serving as top level domains for individuals trying to find a book.  There is certainly a lot of value to allowing an online visitor to access the information they want more readily.

This is what makes Google so successful, right? This has a variety of implications for advertisers, marketing, sales, businesses, trademark owners, domain owners, lawyers and judges trying to cope with how to administer and manage these new top level domains.  We will just have to wait and see how this plays out, but it is an interesting opportunity to access a more focused distribution channel.

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