The beginning of each year is a time for reflection and predictions. Now that 2012 is in full swing, we are taking a look at what is in store for the domain industry this year.
Elliot Silver, of Elliotsblog.com, reached out to industry professionals in a recent post to set predictions for 2012.
With the tradition of resolutions and predictions, here are some of my thoughts as we move into 2012:
2012 will be a year filled with changes and expectations in the domain industry. It may also be a time for some to sit back and watch.This is the first time ICANN has opened a window so large for businesses, communities, cities, and organizations to apply for their own top level domain (TLD). With any new initiative, bumps will be felt.
Will there be more applications than are currently being expected? Quite possibly. This is a long process, and 2012 is only the first step. 2012 will lay the groundwork for 2013 and beyond.
After 2012, we will be able to reflect and plan for future years, incorporating lessons learned. The past six years have been used as a guide for 2012, and are the foundation for this year. The only thing that could possibly stop this process is the end of the world, which according to the Mayan calendar is coming about eight months too late.
As mentioned in the “ICANN: The Next Big .thing” panel, 20 years ago there was the same hesitation about the Internet. Ten years ago there was hesitation about social media.
In a few years, new gTLDs will be just as important and widely accepted as a website, social media and even possibly a physical location.
Here are three predictions that caught my attention from Elliot’s post:
Karen J. Bernstein: “I predict that in 2012 there will be substantial problems with the majority of Generic, Geographic and IDN gTLD applicants being approved by virtue of the complexities of the applicant proving it has the financial capacity in answering the ICANN gTLD Guidebook Questions 45-50. It is by far the most difficult part of the application process.
The ICANN gTLD Guidebook Questions require extremely detailed predictions and ICANN provides no benchmarks for what is an acceptable financial model going out three years in advance, which is akin to working in the dark. I believe that based on the laborious financial review process the timeline for ICANN to publish approvals of applications will be delayed by virtue of the financial complexities ICANN has created for companies seeking to become a gTLD registry. Brand gTLDs will most likely have little difficulty since their registry is ’closed’ to the public.”
Comment: Plan ahead! Seek help early where needed. Consider this application strategically and tactically since it will be guiding your near- and far-term actions.
The Honorable Neil Brown QC: “My prediction is that there will be more applications for new gTLDs than has been anticipated. There has been a widely held view that many companies will hold back and just keep an eye on other applications and see if there are any that affect them. So it has been thought that there may not be many applications. I am inclined to think that more than expected will actually apply, irrespective of what others do. Obviously the fees and costs of making an application will be quite high, but those involved will be well-heeled, so the costs will not deter them and consequently many will apply for gTLDs, no matter what the cost.”
Comment: Those entities willing to commit in the first round will have an advantage from a thought leader perspective to an entrepreneurial, go-to-market perspective. Applying for a new gTLD is a journey, and a journey that helps you think through new and exciting opportunities.
Elliot Noss: “In 2012 we will see continued efficiency come to the secondary market for domain names in two ways. We will see existing distribution channels improve, primarily through more registrars and resellers integrating premium names into their results. More importantly, we will see a significant increase in participation by large companies. Premium domains are moving from the legal department to the marketing department which is to the benefit of the whole market.”
Comment: A byproduct of the very act of applying for a new gTLD is, at times, forcing three traditional functional areas (marketing, legal, and technology) to work even more closely and align their goals. This alone is a huge for any organization not already claiming victory in this area. Those that align and understand the business opportunity will come out ahead.