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The gold rush to new extensions

Some time ago we published an entry discussing certain changes in this market, and notably PPC (Pay Per Click), or: "how to purchase millions of domain names in order to pollute the internet with websites for which the sole purpose is to display an advertisement".

And pocket millions from the web surfers that we all are, rather than to perform our role as a virtual notary that is honest (even though it pays less).

This "evolution", which personally seems to me to be more of a "regression", has since obviously become an important growth factor for the majority of actors in this market. Except for us, but you know that already.

As you may have already read about, ICANN has just announced that there will be a degree of liberalization in the creation of new extensions. Soon, there will be dozens, or even hundreds of new ones, right next to the ones that are already well known (.com, .net, .org, .info., .de.,, and this, thanks to a rather non-discriminative selection process ($70k in capital, and $500k in insurance).

The level of excitement on the part of market professionals (web hosts, registrars, and also established registries) is indescribable. At this very moment, in the hallways of this ICANN convention in Paris, there are many whose sole motivation is to build their own extension, the one that will make them even more rich than they already are.

And I assure you, it really makes for an interesting sight. Did I evoke the image of the Far West?

We are, however, not being sarcastic here: I will say it again, we consider this as an additional chance for everyone to make their own place on the Internet, their own 'identity' in the most professional and personalized way possible. And we hope that in the long term, our brand will fit the image of those people and companies that are looking to do so.

I would like, however, to clarify for our customers, our colleagues at Gandi, and our share holders, as well as to our competitors and all those that have us in mind for becoming a registry of an extension that, NO we do not wish to give in to the trend of mixing roles (ok, perhaps just for the .gandi, but that is even unlikely ^^).

Our wish is to provide an irreproachable level of service, and we cannot do this if we are both the judge and the party, the supplier and the reseller, the regulation authority and the distributor. A notary cannot simultaneously be a real estate agent and promoter: this is exactly, at any rate for us, the same problem that is applied to Internet addresses and to the websites that are on them.

However, this is what has been happening in recent years, because all of the actors believe that the market is so stupid that it will not wake up one day from its torpor. We are betting on the contrary in the long term, and the negative consequence that it will surely have for some. At the least, we can do our job with the head held high, and that is priceless.

It is quite clear: ICANN had just let loose the wave of excess speculation, by opening Pandora's box of new extensions.

Without a doubt, it will be impossible to determine the rules governing the non-cumulation of mandates in a market that is so profitable and controlled by only a handful of people around the world. Also without a doubt, the appearance of new actors, coming from different backgrounds and lured by the prospects, will allow for a "upwards" normalization of this market.

Or not.

Whatever happens, we will still be here for those that would like to give us their trust, which we will do our utmost to honor by taking such a stand.