Why I’m not bothered by closed generic top level domain names

As a domain investor, I find it difficult to oppose the idea of closed generic top level domains.

There’s been a lot of talk in the domain industry about “closed generic” top level domain names.

A closed generic is a generic term (non brand) such as .baby, .kid, .cloud, in which the applicant wants to keep all of the second level domains for themselves.

If the applicant wants to run a closed registry on .cloud, that means no one other than the applicant would be able to register services.cloud, brand.cloud, etc.

The uproar in the domain community started small but grew big enough that ICANN has opened an official comment period on the subject.

I respect many of the people that are opposed to these closed generic, and I see where they are coming from.

But I’m personally not bothered by these closed TLDs.

The primary reason is that I’m a domain investor. And as a domain investor, it bugs me when people suggest they have a higher or better use for a domain than I do.

Domain owners hear this all the time: “You’re just parking the domain, I want to run a real business on it!”

When it comes to second level domains, if you’ve got the money to spend on a domain and the seller will part ways with it, you can basically do what you want with it.

It’s a free market.

Now I understand top level domains are a bit different. The rationale is to spur competition and innovation. I get all that.

But I keep coming back to my core belief.

The second reason I’m not opposed to closed generics is that I don’t think these new TLDs will bring a huge advantage to their owners.

Will owning .baby give Johnson & Johnson Services some huge advantage in the marketplace? More so than owning baby.com (which it already does)?

I’ll tell you this: if it does give them a huge advantage, then the internet itself is really screwed.

It would mean that we’ll have an internet of haves and have nots. The cost of establishing yourself as a web business will increase substantially.

I don’t think there will be a huge advantage to owning these domains, so it doesn’t worry me.

There is a side issue of closed generic operators asking for exemptions from the Code of Conduct, when they actually plan to offer second level domains to the public but keep the registrations in their name. That’s a problem.

But closed generics in principle? I’m fine with it.


  1. says

    I wish I was one of these wine brands who applied for their “closed” TLD. I would definitely know what to do with second level domains such as “cabernet”, “merlot”…

    What if they decided to park 1000 second level domains just to drive traffic to their store?
    I don’t know what to think about this yet.

    I know what to think if they started to use unprotected wine Geographical Indications for their own use: that could become a problem.

    • says

      @ Jean Guillon – let’s say you got the .wine TLD and it was closed. How would parking 1000 second level domains drive traffic? Particularly if it was a closed registry, the only way people would know to type in a .wine SLD would be if you marketed it to them.

  2. JT says

    The way you’ve explained it, sure there would seemingly be nothing to fear.

    However, once you open that door, there’s no going back and the thing that began as harmless ways for business to simply have for use in their own backyard, will truly morph into something the likes of which haven’t been seen.

    Ever heard of a little thing called derivatives? Created by a handful of people outside of wall street for one use but greedy wall street bankers saw this tool as a way to create their own money printing machine.


    Long live capitalism.

  3. says


    Let’s say Verisign announced tomorrow that from now on it will take possession of all dropping .com domains, for its own use, and that it will no longer accept any new second-level registrations.

    It’s like that.

    • says

      @ Kevin Murphy – if Verisign said from the beginning that it would not offer .com domains to anyone else or keep all the expired domains, then it wouldn’t have taken off and alternative TLDs that were more open would have.

  4. Mike says

    I would think that there is going to be a large increase in Trade Mark litigation once these new tld’s start being used widely. For example, if someone has a “cloud” trade mark ,such as I do, then if someone tries to start using a dot cloud domain in my jurisdiction I will be wanting to claim breach of trade mark.

  5. says

    Pages with few but different content, cross linking and maybe a little SEO, then let Google do its job. I think parking 1000 pages would drive traffic. I’d say the .wine is not a good example here since it is open, a brand TLD could benefit from this poor strategy. If ROI is more than the cost of set up + cost of domains, it makes it. It would probably generate a bad image for the company but this is just a first thought.

    • says

      Jean, how’s that working out for .travel?

      You can do the same thing today with second level domains, but Google is pretty good at snuffing it out.

      At least currently, a brand will be better off focusing on one domain name and building up its credibility instead of creating multiple web sites.

  6. Mike says

    @Andrew , LOL, nope , only ones that I think deserve it. If I pursued everyone then it would be full time job. To be honest is much more about preventing someone taking my domains ,as well of course of using the TM .

  7. KD says

    If ICANN tells me I can’t run a closed gTLD but I want to… Fine. I will run a public gTLD but the registration / renewal costs will be $50 million a year. That will thwart most people from using it, and if someone is willing to pay that amount, it is a win/win. Where do you draw the line on charging $25,000 per year, or $200,000 per year and $5 million a year?

  8. says

    If all its parked pages drive traffic to its main web site, this one appears first.
    dot-travel is an open TLD
    The idea with second level domains is to use generic keywords such as “merlot” (example) for a wine brand new gTLD. With content related to “Merlot” and pointing to main web site of the company, ranking should increase within a few month I would say?

  9. says

    We agree with you the .Whatevers will not be the strategic Game Changers that .COM URLs are. For many of the reasons you state in your post and more.

    As we are all are experiencing the White noise of all the new .Whatever commentors and supporters in this thread , how do you think the .COM holders of internet commerce are going to react?

    The .COM corporations are going to double down on the .COM Brand as being a Web destination of CREDIBILITY CONSUMERS can TRUST. They will stress the CREDIBILITY and STABILITY of the .COM Brand. I assure you its all coming, you can Bank on it.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  10. says

    I agree with you. Closed tlds should be allowed. Just like domain names. First come, first served. Same idea as undeveloped land. First come first served.

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