New TLD debate has degenerated into nonsense.
If you live in America, the past several months have been all about loonies on both sides of the health care debate. They’ll say just about anything, even if it’s not true, to sway opinion on health care. The new top level domain name debate is really quite similar. Like American political issues, you have people on extremes on both sides of the issues.
On one side you have Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA). These fear mongers suggest the world is going to end if new TLDs are introduced. Its latest charge, based on some simplistic math and assumptions pulled out of its (excuse me) ass, is that the launch of new TLDs will cost brand owners $746 million. Like people on the far fringes of political debate, even the ICANN Intellectual Property Consistency is distancing itself from these crack pots.
On the other side you have a lot of the new TLD promoters, who are willing to ignore what has happened over the past 10 years of new TLD introductions. They want to do anything to push new TLDs to fruition. One example is Minds + Machines, which suggests that the cost of protecting brands in new TLDs will be about 10 cents per trademark. (To be fair, M+M puts some actual logic and basis behind its assumptions, unlike CADNA.) These same groups often point to brands owning their own TLDs as some sort of utopia that will erase all of their brand management problems.
What’s the reality? Like with all debates, it’s somewhere in the middle.
The launch of new TLDs will increase costs for brand holders. But it won’t be the end of the world. A handful of companies are spending more money worrying about and fighting new TLDs than they will spend managing their brands when they’re introduced.
Instances of cybercrime and phishing may increase. But new TLDs probably won’t have a huge effect. After all, most phishing isn’t domain dependent today.
Companies that own their own TLDs may get some small branding perks, but it won’t prevent them from having to own the same non-.brand domains they needed in the past.
Much like the health care debate, one side is trying to starve out the other. The trademark interests hope that, by delaying the inevitable, the new TLD promoters will run out of money. Ironically, the smart players may end up being the ones who have sat on the sideline and will get involved when the process is finalized.