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Expert SEOs give their opinion on Liberalisation

Looks like our ICANN report has generated quite a bit of buzz. We've been covered in hundreds of online publications in 10+ different languages all over the world (summary will follow towards the end of the week).

But it seems we've hit a rich vein of SEO implications and generated a bit of buzz in that community. I've just come across this blog summarising the view of many of the SEO big boys. http://www.cornwallseo.com/search/2009/06/16/what-is-internet-liberalisation-and-why-should-you-care/

Interesting stuff and some good issues raised.

Jeff Behrendt says "The only clear winner of the proposed new TLDs is ICANN - at $185K per application, that’s a gravy train they are going to want to ride for many years."

That may be a little unfair. The fee is partly in place to make sure that ICANN can provide a good oversight to new extensions being created and protect trademark holders and general internet users from people setting up dodgy extensions or without the technical competency to run them. They've said this may come down (or up) as they get into the process. The fee should be high to ensure a higher quality of registry. This could be the beginning of the internet name space clear up, with higher standards leading to fewer squatted, speculative or advertising domains.

Michael Gray says - "In most cases opening the web up with more TLD’s is just going to create confusion for consumers". A point also made by Patrick Altoft about consumer confusion.

Well that seems to be what our consumers have said in our survey, so they agree. Though this liberalisation does open up the opportunity for specific TLDs and therefore potentially more simplicity and order. Michael's example of .movie is precisely along these lines, why have spiderman3themoive.com when you can have spiderman3.movie. The film industry could create this extension and protect its use solely for films. I think consumers could get used to that, and it will make more logical sense. More literal meaning to the name space. Roll on the sematic web. Tim Berners-Lee would be so proud ;-)

Hugo Guzman talks about the importance to big business - "The liberalization of domain extensions is already grabbing the attention of Fortune 500 companies".

This was supported by our research too. Still 2/3 were unaware this was happening, but those that did know were both excited and afraid of it, depending on which department you spoke to (e.g. excited = marketing, afraid = legal). Owning .brand could allow you to more effectively manage your brand as you create the association with customers that only sites on .brand are really yours. Though Steve Russell is right, this will cost a lot more than the $185k setup fee.

Anyway, food for thought, and thanks guys for your views.