FairWinds Partners — November 29, 2011
When it comes to ICANN’s New gTLD Program, there are a lot of unknowns. Businesses are asking questions about batching, evaluation processes, Contention Sets, and when the next application round will be held. Some, however, have already started looking beyond the application and evaluation phases to the future and the potential for game-changing innovation and technological advances that, some say, owning a new gTLD promises.
Previously, we have explored some of the benefits that new gTLDs can offer in the short term, but the longer-term technological advantages have been harder to pin down. Individual departments within a company may have some ideas, but new gTLDs will transcend marketing, legal, and IT concerns, and will require companies to consider the bigger picture. Particularly for brands that pride themselves on their leadership in Internet strategy, the chance to be a first-mover with a transformative use of gTLDs will be attractive.
Last week, MaxMD, a communications company specializing in the healthcare industry, offered a hint of what one type of new gTLD technology could look like. The company announced that it has been awarded a patent for a new, secure electronic communication system that makes use of registered users within a gTLD. According to MaxMD’s press release, the invention will decrease the risk of email and data breaches by leveraging the increased security offered by a “closed” gTLD.
New gTLD advisors are also urging potential applicants to think big when it comes to new gTLDs. Recent informational webinars about new gTLDs hosted by American Banker and Columbia Business School / Afilias encouraged listeners to bear in mind the prospect of new inventions when deciding whether or not to apply.
While enticing, the difficulty with these much-anticipated innovations is that nobody can say exactly what they will be or how valuable they will be. MaxMD’s announcement last week is just the tip of the gTLD innovation iceberg. For brands, this means there is one more factor to consider as they weigh their options. And unfortunately, given that only one application period for new gTLDs has been announced, the reality is that you probably won’t know if you’ve missed a big opportunity until it’s too late.