Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs): Good, Bad or just plain Ugly?

No matter where you fall on the debate of allowing generic top level domains (gTLDs), I think it is safe to say that they are not ugly. However, should ICANN permit an increase in the number of gTLDs? The answer is debatable. However, while the debate continues, I CANN has opened up the application and registration process for registering gTLDs, such as, .lawyer, .pampers, .cocacola, .procterandgamble.

So, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages?

1) brand owners can leverage existing brands by acquiring a gTLD and drive consumers to their products via multiple URL channels;

2) consumers can more readily search for products or services by going to a gTLD, such as, .lawyer or .doctor;

3) trademark owners have to undertake greater efforts to police the gTLDs to monitor for infringer, typo-squatters and cyber-squatters;

4) greater opportunities for new comers to acquire a gTLD and cut off a brand owner’s market channel;

5) brand owners have opportunities to increase market share by registering multiple gTLDs as part of their branding strategy to grow market share;

6) potential confusion of customers from non-brand owners registering a gTLD and offering competing or complimentary goods or services…etc…

The debate continues and there is merit on both sides. However, ICANN began accepting applications for gTLDs in January of 2012 and the period will close in April 2012. It is expected that applications for generic registries will take anywhere from nine to twenty months to actually get through the registration process.

If you would like to apply for a gTLD or want to learn more about them, then please feel free to contact us.

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