Esther Dyson Calls B.S. On New Top Level Domain Names
Founding chair of ICANN’s board says new TLDs are a waste of money.
On the way into work this morning I heard yet another report about new top level domain names, this time on NPR.
So what did she have to say about new top level domain names?
“I think it’s kind of a useless market,” she says, “and if I had $185,000, I’d spend it on something else.”
… “Nobody’s creating new value here,” Dyson says, “They’re just selling words.”
The story also interviews Forrester analyst Jeff Ernst. Ernst gives an example of how new TLDs enable innovation for brands:
So not only is Canon now going to be dot-Canon,” he says, “but Canon can now issue secondary domains to every one of its camera owners, and what they might very well do is embed a chip in their cameras that link that camera owner to their ID so that as they’re taking photos they could just be automatically uploading photos to a photo-sharing site. I mean, that’s just one possibility.”
Yes, it’s a possibility. In fact, it’s possible today with the plain old Canon.com domain name. It would just be at the third level instead of the second. (And in fact, that would be a lot cheaper since Canon will have to pay 25 cents to ICANN for each second level domain it registers. Third level name.canon.com domains? Those are free.)
What does Dyson have to say about .canon?
“Canon.com works fine, as far as I’m concerned.”
I wouldn’t discourage a brand from applying for a top level domain name. The price is peanuts to a big company. But let’s not pretend examples like this — which I hear over and over — are something that is only enabled with the introduction of new TLDs.
Will there be innovation with new TLDs? It’s entirely possible. I just hate to hear examples of innovation that aren’t innovative.