ICANN’t Believe It’s .butter
Let me guess. YourCompanyName.com, Your-Company-Name.com, Your-Company-Name-Industry.com (and all their .net counterparts) were all taken when you came to register your site. It’s understandable that you’re excited about ICANN’s new policy on TLDs—you’ll be able to register justabout.anything.
Yeah, well, I hate it. I’ve always hated the idea and I had a really hard time understanding how the ICANN, the organization that arbitrates Internet domain names, could reject the .xxx TLD two years ago and turn around to make it—and almost anything else—okay now. (Their reasoning for rejecting it at the time, compliance and “public-policy concerns,” doesn’t seem to have been resolved in the interim.)
But porn has nothing to do with why I hate this idea—and nothing to do with the ICANN’s still-shoddy logic. According to Slate, they’re doing this to help with the all-new (not) problem of cybersquatting:
Now ICANN, the international body in charge of domain names, says it has a way to rid the Web of cybersquatting. . . .
ICANN argues that adding new descriptive domains will reduce the chance for confusion. . . . And while cybersquatting is already prohibited by trademark law in many countries, including the United States, ICANN promises to implement a strict international review process to prevent miscreants from registering names that they shouldn’t own. Only Facebook will be allowed to manage the .facebook domain, for example, and if someone tries to buy Slate.webmagazine, Slate’s lawyers will be able to shut it down in a jiffy.
Worse still, Slate says, “ICANN’s plan to sell all these new top-level domains at very high prices—tens of thousands of dollars or more—seems like a scam.” Ouch.
Furthermore, site owners are becoming “more adventurous” in their domaining. Slate cites Icanhascheezburger.com and del.icio.us (though they note the upgrade to delicious.com) as examples of this.
Most of all, Slate argues, if this is supposed to stop cybersquatting, the new TLDs are too late. Very few people even bother remembering website URLs these days, relying instead on Google to find “Match.com” or “General Motors.” (Which, by the way, is yet another reason to invest in SEO.)
In fact, I think that allowing these TLDs will make it harder for us to remember any websites’ URLs. It’s going to increase our dependence on search engines to find the right website for General Motors
What do you think? Will you be investing in .butter, or are you rolling your eyes along with me?