Thanks to the New York Entrepreneurs Business Network (www.nyebn.com) the DomainSkate team had the opportunity last night to discuss the new domain space, how it might affect budding NYC businesses, and show off our online protection software.
While we have done our fair share of blogging and writing about the new domain space, and often get wrapped up in some of the wonkier legal and policy based minutiae, it was terrific to sit down with lots of eager entrepreneurs and talk about the big picture aspects and potential impact of the program.
In most cases even the savviest tech folks had no idea that the new domain spaces were opening up, and those that did had not given much thought to what it might mean for their business – good or bad. Interestingly enough, when we asked the audience (100+ people) if they had trouble finding a domain name when they started their business, most people raised a hand. Further, almost everyone raised a hand when we asked if their business website was the primary customer facing “storefront”. I mention this simply because it seems that startups struggling to find good names will now have choices, and that a good domain name is particularly important for companies that rely on the internet to reach and engage consumers.
There was a lot of skepticism from people in the audience about the need for new domains, and whether this would mean businesses would have to own multiple domains in order to protect themselves online – i.e., this would require more money, time and energy. Interestingly enough, these comments echo the protests of big business when ICANN first proposed opening up the space to the “right of the .dot”. Over 100 of the leading brands sent a letter to ICANN in 2009 slamming the program stating it would put an “undue” cost on brand owners and could threaten the “health and safety” of internet users. Interestingly, many of these same brands applied for their own domain registries and are making plans to brand and re-shape their internet presence accordingly.
The message that we hope came through during our presentation is that the new domain space has both opportunity and peril. But navigating it, protecting your business, and taking advantage of the historic opportunity at hand is something every business (from startups to big brands) can do without an undue impact on limited resources. As the new domain program moves forward, it will be even more important for businesses to think about how they can protect themselves in a larger internet landscape with multiple channels, and how to leverage increasingly popular and useful niche areas for users to search and find what they need from businesses of every size.
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