online

Domain name gold rush begins

SmartCompany /

Registry companies are rubbing their hands with glee at the possibility of new business that will come from companies being able to register their own name or brand as a domain name.

Registry companies are rubbing their hands with glee at the possibility of new business that will come from companies being able to register their own name or brand as a domain name.

Every country has a country code domain name, such as .com.au and co.uk. But the changes mean new names could include company names such as .Telstra, brand names such as .vegemite or place names such as .Sydney.

Adrian Kinderis is one entrepreneur who is excited by the new internet gold rush. He runs the $20 million AusRegistry, which is a registry operator and wholesaler of .au domain names.

Kinderis was in Paris last week for the conference on domain names that generated all the hype. He is the only Australian on the Generic Names Support Organisation that made recommendations to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the non-government body that sets the rules for domain names.

“We gave ICANN 21 recommendations about how the new GTLD (global top level domain names) were going to operate,” he says.

Kinderis is perplexed at the sudden hype around companies or countries being able to register domain names, and blames the mayor of Paris.

“Everyone is saying a decision was made in Paris last Friday. But the decision had already been made. ICANN has accepted our recommendations but is yet to vote on the implementation. We were there (in Paris) to look at the rules around implementing it but when the mayor of Paris said he wanted .Paris, it hit the world press.”

Not that he is complaining. “Registrys like ours will do very well out of this. And my company is leading the charge,” he says.

Kinderis is so excited he is talking an IPO down the track. “The sky is the limit. We consider ourselves an enabler. We will offer backend registry services and work out a fee so people can utilise our infrastructure.”

He says there are no doubts that registering your own domain name will be very expensive. “You have to look at what it’s worth for a company though. If you have a $135 million marketing budget, then it would be worth $300,000 to $500,000 a year to have your own marketing space.”

He says names like Gucci would be highly trafficked. “I would expect if Gucci had their own domain name, millions would come every day to .gucci.”

Kinderis says he has already been knocking on some doors. “We have got some major companies in Australia that should be doing it. I don’t want people to miss out.”

He says the decision to allow all scripts to be domain names was also a huge decision. “In Saudi Arabia, they have just decreed that all contracts be written in Arabic. It is very important for them to register .dubai, not just in English but in Arabic. It is important for their culture and national pride. Also kids who are not native speakers find it hard to use English on keyboards. They don’t know where lower case is, for example.”

So how about all the disputes set to break out over trademarks? “It will be interesting. If you have a global trademark like McDonald’s, you won’t have a problem. But acronyms like IBM might. What if ‘Indian Bicycle Mechanics’ wants the domain? That doesn’t infringe IBM’s trademark.”

He says some country leaders are already acting to secure their country domain name. “I heard that the major of Berlin had already secured agreements from all the other Berlin’s that Germany’s Berlin will get the domain name.”

But what happens if Australian businesses, trying to grab a domain name for their trademark name, finds that a company in the US or Britain also has the same trademarked name that wants the domain name too? “It can go to auction or arbitration. So in many cases it will come down to the company with the biggest pockets.” In arbitration it might just come down to which company has the most community backing or support.

It is also not clear how search engines will handle the new domain names. Head of Google corporate communications in Australia, Rob Shilken, says he can’t comment as he is unsure.

But Kinderis says there will be huge search benefits. If Gucci has its own name then of course it will appear first in search engines. “We are talking to Google about this now.”
He says there is no doubt this is a new chapter in the internet. “This is a new frontier in real estate. And when there is new land, everyone wants to put a flag on it.”

 

Read more on ICANN, domain names, online marketing and search engine optimisation

 

Advertisement
SmartCompany

SmartCompany is the leading online publication in Australia for free news, information and resources catering to Australia’s entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and business managers.

We Recommend

FROM AROUND THE WEB