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VeriSign’s Pat Kane Discusses New TLDs and IDNs

With new TLDs approved, VeriSign gets ready to move forward.

Domain name registries are getting down to business now that ICANN has finally approved the new top level domain name program.

I recently caught up with Pat Kane, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Verisign Naming Services, to discuss what this means for .com and the domain name industry in general.

“All boats will rise together with new gTLDs because this is about growing our industry through competition,” said Kane. He also said competition will be good for the consumer.

Won’t this hurt .com in the long run? Kane doesn’t think so, but stresses that its hard to speculate on exactly what the future holds.

“If you look five years back the world was a very different place,” he said. But five years from now Kane thinks “.com is still in the game and we continue to grow.”

He thinks people that come online for the first time will consider a broad picture of identities to attract an audience.

“It [New gTLDs] will attract people to the domain space for the first time because it’s more relevant to them because it’s in their language or in their script.”

Indeed, VeriSign will likely play a big role in bringing native scripts and languages to the web. The company plans to apply for between 9-20 transliterations of .com in order to offer a resolution service.

“We’re trying to extend the value proposition of .com,” he explained. “It’s not new domain space, it’s a resolution service.”

Plans call for registrants of existing second level .com domains to be able to select .com transliterations to resolve. This extends even to existing Latin-script domains, so Nike can resolve Nike.IDN if it wants to.

VeriSign will consider the commercial feasibility of the .com transliterations it applies for. There are currently about one million registered second level IDN .com domain names. One script only has a few registrations, so don’t expect a top level domain for it. But you can expect .com equivalents in Japanese, Hangul, Chinese, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Hebrew.

VeriSign is also busy working with other new gTLD applicants who want to use its infrastructure services. Kane says applicants are attracted to VeriSign because of its technology and experience building new products. Not only does VeriSign run .com, but it has created a number of value added services such as DDOS protection, Internet Profile Service (which could be used to scan for nexus requirements on a geo domain, for example), and malware scanning.

How successful will new TLDs be?

“I’m looking forward to the different business models that drive true innovation in our space,” he said. “If we’re just about web site content and email, that’s fine, but I think new business models will allow us to do much more than that.”

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  1. Jonathan

    It is technology that will drive true innovation in our space, it has nothing to do with dot whatever. The technology changes the environment, only then do we respond.The rest is just marketing and like it or not the brand dot com is now hardwired as top of the pile.

  2. Jothan Frakes

    For anyone who has not had the opportunity to meet him, Pat is a great guy who is a real thought leader in the space. He has done a lot for the domain industry.

    @Andrew, I appreciate that you took time to interview him and this is a great article.

  3. yanni

    {QUOTE}Indeed, VeriSign will likely play a big role in bringing native scripts and languages to the web. The company plans to apply for between 9-20 transliterations of .com in order to offer a resolution service.{/QUOTE}

    Surely a tremendous opportunity missed by so many in the domain space.

    Great News and vindication for the rest who persisted over the years.

  4. Avtal

    Andrew,

    Thanks for posting this! It made my day.

    In case some of your readers missed the implications, let me elaborate:

    For the last 10 years, it has been possible to register IDN.com domains, such as москва.com (Москва is Russian for Moscow). But the value of these mixed-script domains (IDN to the left of the dot, Latin to the right) was not obvious to everyone.

    But soon it will be possible to register pure IDNs, such as москва.ком (all Cyrillic). And Pat Kane has verified that the owner of the mixed-script москва.com will be the only one allowed to register the all-Cyrillic москва.ком.

    So if you were planning to wait until 2012 to start registering .ком domains, you’re a bit late. The sunrise period began 10 years ago.

    But the door has not closed completely. It is no longer 1996 in the IDN world, but we are still only at about 2001.

    Free advice:
    1) If you are interested in IDNs, don’t procrastinate any longer; this is your wake-up call.
    2) Work with someone who speaks the language you are interested in; if you rely on Google Translate you will register a lot of junk.

    Happy hunting!

    Avtal

  5. Jonathan

    Avtal@
    Agree that IDN.com domains are without doubt the smart move, (москва.com) But the .com is a brand Not a transation error.

  6. Avtal

    @Andrew – There are only about 31,000 Cyrillic IDN.com domains registered (according to some figures posted on idnforums.com), versus 800,000 Cyrillic .рф domains. So you are right, there are still a lot of opportunities.

    Avtal

  7. Gary

    I’m fairly sure that most people reading this are thinking the same thing.
    These new dot com transliterations are going to fail or at best struggle, all new gTLDs will. “Dot com is king of the hill; nothing is going to change that mindset for a very long time”.

    That maybe true for the new English gTLDs, but IDNs are different. Look at this example:

    Put เกมส์.คอม into the Google Keyword Tool. It shows 90k Broad, 27k Phrase.

    This is a Thai term, those characters after the dot is the transliteration for “com”

    So let’s be clear, people are searching Google for a domain with an extn that doesn’t even exist today. Why is this important? Because as English speakers, you and I hear and type “com”. In other languages they hear “com” and type their transliteration of com in their own language.

    This phenomenon you will see across most non latin languages.

    What will happen when these “com” gTLDs go live? Traffic that has been hitting a dead-end will suddenly find a home.

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