Thies Lindenthal finds fault with ICANN’s digital archery.
Plenty of people have come out against ICANN’s digital archery plan for new top level domains. Digital archery will determine the batch in which a new TLD application is reviewed and ultimately will have correlation to when they come online.
Some of those opposed want a different method for picking the order while others want to scrap batching all together.
Today economist Thies Lindenthal (the guy behind the Internet Domain Name Index) published a guest post on Financial Times about digital archery. His conclusion? “Frankly, anything is better than this”.
For domain extensions, the timing of market entry relative to one’s competitors is vitally important. The first batch of domains will receive a head start of up to a year which will be difficult for latecomers to overcome. Think of the acceptance of each new gTLDs as a self enforcing process — every new digital dweller makes the extension more renown and popular, increasing the benefits of earlier settlers who find it easier to promote their location. Their ‘locations’ gain in value. For example, if more and more lawyers used LAW for their websites, their peers will consider moving into this ‘network’ as well. In economic terms, each new member increases the utility incumbents derive from being in the network. Virtuous circles evolve.
Indeed, getting into the first batch is critical for everything but .brands. (And .brands may tell you it’s critical for them, too.). Lindenthal gives a perfect example with .eco and .green. If one comes out a couple years before the other, the latecomer is doomed.
I tend to agree with Lindenthal, although his suggested alternative may be just as troublesome. Instead of batching based on the click of a mouse, Lindenthal suggests giving top level domains first to those that have the power to start breaking down the .com mindset, which is to remember a second level domain and then just type .com after it.
I bet just about every applicant thinks they’re the one that can chip away at .com. Of course, a batching auction might resolve this…