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Entrepreneurs primed for domain name opportunity

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
The looming introduction of a new domain name regime will “open the floodgates” for entrepreneurs keen to take a slice of the $5 billion industry, the CEO of a wholesale domain provider has claimed.

 

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, has flagged late June as the start date for when and how companies, entrepreneurs, governments and communities can apply for their own authentic name space.

 

The new “top level” addresses involve the word after the dot in an internet address. While these are now occupied by domain names such as .com or .org, they could soon be replaced by company, generic or geographic names such as .nike or .sydney.

 

“[This] will open the floodgates for corporates and entrepreneurs to own their own trusted, regulated slice of internet ‘real estate’ and drive major new revenue streams,” says Alan Kinderis, CEO of AusREgistry International.

 

According to Kinderis, there is no better way for a corporation to identify itself as genuine and committed to the online medium than by owning its own piece of the web.

 

Kinderis says the saturation of .com, which comprises 90 million domains and 70% of the market share, has created a lack of choice and limited competition.

 

“The new Top-Level Domain program will resolve some of these flaws by allowing for the introduction of regulated online name spaces that are authentic, verified and trustworthy,” he says.

 

“Take a bank for example. It would bring clarity and security to customers with the simple message, ‘If it’s not .nab, it’s not us’.”

 

“Not to mention making it easier for customers to find content online without using a search engine, because all they will need to remember is creditcards.nab, for instance.”

 

ICANN is set to launch the program in mid June and open the application window in October, after which applicants will have 60 days to lodge their application with ICANN.

 

With a minimum price tag of $US185,000 per registration, the new domains will be out of reach for many small businesses.

 

However, online services provider Melbourne IT has already fielded more than 150 expressions of interest from clients who want advice on running a domain registry.

 

Melbourne IT communications manager Tony Smith says the company has an arrangement with VeriSign – the US company that manages the registry for .com and .net websites – to develop and manage these potential new registries.

 

According to Kinderis, consumers can expect to see new top-level domains in operation from around mid 2012. He says the clock is ticking for businesses to lodge their application.

 

“If companies and entrepreneurs miss the application window this year, it may be a long time before they have the same opportunity again,” he says.