Dot Books, Not Dot Com?

Change may be afoot in the way you name your domain: the net’s regulator Icann is in debate to determine if the strict rules on so-called top level domain names, such as .com or .uk, can be relaxed. If so, you might be able to purchase domain names like www.bookstore.books or www.loblaws.supermarket.

In this corner, the Pros:

  • Brand Expansion: Not every business name makes the commerce type immediately clear. This way, a publisher or bookseller with a quirky name can be instantly recognized by web users.
  • Identity Clarity: dot ca, dot uk and dot au have done a lot to distinguish territories and areas. On this model, the parsing can be extended to business type as well. Because who hasn’t clicked on www.happyfeet.com trying to buy shoes that will make her feet happy and ended up finding a documentary about dancing orphans in rural Lithuania? As if I’m the only one…
  • Sharing the Wealth: Right now, cybersquatters can pick from a pretty limited range of essential domain names to hold ransom. Opening up the floodgates might actually help (though I’ll present the counter-argument below).

And, over here, the Cons:

  • CyberSquatters Festival!: A lot more potential domain names mean a lot more opportunity for a brand to be sullied by evildoers misrepresenting a business on a closely named site. See above for counterpoint.
  • Total Mayhem: How do I find out more about those courageous, rhythmic children if happyfeet.com suddenly becomes happyfeet.orphans? Or happyfeet.documentary? Or…really, anything. All of a sudden, SEO becomes even more important.
  • XXX: Apparently, there’s been some talk of a domain name for, um, adult-themed sites. And then people get squirmy because there would be no way to restrict this. Unlike now, where this kind of content is scrupulously controlled and totally inaccessible to all but a select few. Actually, wait…

Read the whole article on the BBC…