If .brand TLDs work, the incumbents will win.
I don’t think opening the floodgates to new top level domain names will have a monumental impact on the web, especially for brands that want to register a .brand domain name.
But let’s assume for a moment that it does. Let’s also assume that companies are able to leverage their .brand domain names in a way that gives them a competitive advantage; whether it be against cybersquatting, in search engines, or for marketing.
That’s what ICANN hopes will happen. But it would be terrible for the web.
What we’d have is a group of haves and have nots. The haves would be large companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, which can afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their own TLD. The have nots would be everyone else.
One of the beauties of the web is how little money it takes to start up a web site or business. A $10 domain, free software, and a cheap web hosting package gets you started.
But if new TLDs succeed that may no longer be the case. The next company that wants to take on Google’s dominant position in search or Facebook’s leadership in social networking will be at an instant disadvantage.
Sure, some day you might be able to register your own TLD for $10. Yet that’s a long way off.