While enjoying a weekend to myself and flipping through channels in search of Sunday NFL Football, I was caught off guard by a 1and1.com commercial for pre-registering the upcoming release of new general top level domains (gtld).

This commercial caught me off guard because I wondered how many thousands or millions of viewers watching Sunday NFL Football actually saw the commercial and knew what it meant.

For those of you that are in the dark on new gtlds, they are essentially new suffixes for domain names. Most of the general Internet population is familiar with the most popular gltd, .com, just due to most websites end in .com.

However, there are roughly 20 or more existing gtlds that most people have seen over the last few years. These gltds, .org, .net, .me, .co, .info, .biz, .tv to name a few, are commonly used when the .com gtld for a specific domain is unable to be used or already registered by someone.

When the .com is not available and affordable, other gtlds are

A common example is AustinCommercialRoofing.com, which I happen to own and it can be leased or purchased for the right price. Since this domain is accounted for and Austin roofing companies choose to not buy or lease the domain, they simply are left to register another extension or gtld using the phrase “AustinCommercialRoofing”.

In this case, roofing companies in Austin then register AustinCommercialRoofing.org, AustinCommercialRoofing.net or another gtld. Now the irony is that my domain receives quite a bit of daily traffic for those in search of commercial roofing services in Austin due to its generic nature of using exact match keywords as its domain.

Bypassing search, many potential customers type keywords into the web address bar of their browser and append .com out of habit. So the owners of AustinCommercialRoofing.net and .org are inadvertently bleeding traffic to my .com. Think about that, making money at the expense of your competition and their marketing and advertising budgets all because they don’t own the .com. But I digress.

A joint effort to promote gtlds or another “get-rich-quick” idea

The 1and1.com commercial is not the first domain name registry to make subtle changes in preparation for the release of over 1,900 unique gtlds. GoDaddy recently dropped the gtld drop down menu from its domain search as well as other registries. In addition, GoDaddy has also rebranded to drop the .com as well as accepting pre-registration of new domain name extensions too.

Personally, I think the new gtlds will allow many registries such as 1and1.com, GoDaddy and others to make money on domainers and business owners buying domains on the new gtlds hoping to launch the next big web idea.

What many fail to see about the release of new gtlds

However, I’m not too sure that the new gtlds will provide any added value to end customers such as website and business owners. My reasoning for this is that for the last 20 years or so, the general population has become so familiar with typing, saying, and seeing .COM at the end of every website. Of course, not all websites end it .com, but majority do.

Sure, business owners will be able to purchase their name possibly if they are first to register. Business owners will save money on the new extension instead of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for an aftermarket .com domain.  And this does not account for the money spent on SEO to make sure domains are ranking well or on the first page of major search engines.

That said, I do believe there will be a few gtld winners, but I do stress only a few gtlds will reach the status .com has obtained, meaning 1-2 percent. Just like today with .com and any other extension, business owners who lose out on the opportunity to first register their desired domain will be forced to choose another extension or another creative variation of their company name if the domain and extension are unavailable.

.com as the single internet king or .? gtlds as multiple internet kings

Essentially, the release of the new gtlds could very well try to splinter the internet into an internet of verticals or mini internets. This means that you would shop on .shop websites, bank on .bank websites, get news from .news websites, get insurance from .insurance websites, and so on.

Personally, the introduction of so many gtlds, although being released 20 per week starting at the end of 2013 or early 2014, could get very confusing and not to mention costly.  Businesses defensively registering domains to prohibit cyber squatting as well as the development and management of a variety of websites for each market and its verticals a business serves could cost businesses and website owners hundreds and thousands of additional dollars beyond their primary website.

Will new gtlds teach us the same lesson history has taught us about multiple kings?

Who knows, maybe the introduction of new gtlds is the next big turn for the internet that is still roughly in its infancy of only being 20 years of age in comparison to other industries and markets. Or maybe this is yet another massive idea gone wrong. My belief is that this is going to be a monumental failure or success with nothing in between.

In the end, the general public will decide whether or not .com will remain king or whether multiple kings will be crowned at once. But then again, what happens to societies with more than one king? Guess we’ll wait and see although history has shown us time and time again.


Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.