Cerf discusses new TLDs and Google’s involvement.
Vint Cerf, former chairman of ICANN’s board and current Google Chief Internet Evangelist, has dished out a bit of opinion on new top level domains.
CNET asked Cerf this question:
Namespaces are a notorious problem in computer science. Is the GTLD expansion actually adding value, or is it just making things more complicated and adding new trademark headaches for brand owners? I know Google is getting involved, but is that because Google excited by the possibilities or worried about the consequences of not defending its brand?
To which Cerf responded:
We are interested in new ways to use Google brands and new ideas for using GTLDs. The trademark/domain name interaction has always been problematic because trademarks are not unique. I think ICANN has provided strong guidance on sunrise processes to help protect trademark owners and faster dispute resolution mechanisms. I think only a few new TLDs will be notably successful, but I could be wrong.
Google announced limited details about its new TLD plans last week, including applying for .youtube and .lol.
Cerf’s statement about success and new TLDs has three hedges — “think”, “notably”, and “I could be wrong”.
What makes a TLD successful is a matter of great debate and ultimately up to its backer. Brand TLDs have different metrics than generic TLDs. I think we’ll see a lot of TLDs with 50,000 names that are deemed successful by their backers because they are profitable. If you run enough TLDs you can amortize overhead across them and make a have a nice business.