More conferences! Following on the heels of a very successful F8 conference with Facebook, I am now on to Munich for the newtlds.org conference.
New Top Level Domains are coming into focus and it is the time to be preparing for them. I have connected up with a constellation of experts in a company called Sedari, which provides expert consulting and operational excellence for these new domains that are on the horizon. It is a great group of people, and we’re really knowledgeable about the process and every facet of them.
ICANN’s new Top Level Domain website is launched and the applicant guidebook published. The communications program is already under way with ICANN gatherings in numerous parts of Europe to announce and provide Q&A about the new Top Level Domain application process.
United Domains have timed a conference perfectly with all of these events, called newdomains.org. I am good friends with the conference organizer, and he’s expressed to me that he is immensely pleased not only about the attendance levels, but in particular just how many of those attendees are from brands, and also how many are new or unrecognized names, which illustrates to me that the interest in new top level domains is brewing.
There will be a keynote from Steve Crocker, the Chairman of the Board of directors of ICANN, and the conference is packed with fantastic sessions that will benefit participants of any level of experience, from beginner to advanced.
I am speaking in a session called “ask the experts” along with my friends and respected experts Peter Dengate Thrush, Tina Dam, and Dan Schindler on 9/26 from 16:30 – 17:25 Munich time (10:30 am Eastern / 7:30 am Pacific).
My good friend and the CEO of Sedari, Dr. Liz Williams, will be on a panel just before hand with Richard Wein of nic.at, Sarah Langstone of VeriSign, Jim Rogers of Neustar, Elmar Knipp from Knipp Medien & Kommunikation GmbH (who have an interesting platform called Tango) and Peter Hupfauer of registry.net.
According to a press release at GMO Registry, they’ve signed a deal with Hitachi to operate the .hitachi Top Level Domain name in the upcoming application period with ICANN.
“GMO Registry gTLD acquisition and operation support services chosen by global brand Hitachi to acquire and operate own brand TLD”
In my personal opinion, the brands coming out in support of the new TLD process are the thought leaders and innovators that we’ll see thriving in the digital economy.
Companies that embrace change (as opposed to fear based reactions) and are innovators who have embrace advances in technology and leverage things like social media, and who emphasize a robust online presence are seeing massive competitive advantage over companies that don’t in similar sectors.
Contrasting the application fee and other costs against a typical magazine or television advertising spend, a company gets a nearly perpetual benefit from the online presence that a new TLD provides, as opposed to a campaign that might last a week or a month.
I bow to Hitachi for this wise move, and I congratulate GMO Registry on this, the second major brand with a public announcement.
For a new TLD applicant who is creating a community application or standard application, obtaining the general support (or lack of objection resulting from consultation) from primary groups in the relevant community or stakeholders is a smart play. Many applicants have devised some constructive and mutually beneficial plans to grow broad support, often in equity or some entitlement to a pool of names in advance of the general availability to the public (if and when that comes).
I noticed what I think to be a very well executed and thoughtful execution of this with one of the applicants for a .MLS Top Level Domain.
The following press release came from the MLS Domains Association on August 10th, 2010, which I will narrate.
MLS Domains Association membership grows as special Founder claim period nears an end
Tempe, AZ – August 10, 2010 – MLS Domains Association now counts among its members the MLSs representing more than 511,000 of the nation’s MLS real estate brokers and agents. According to Bob Bemis, chairman of the board of directors of the organization, “We’re delighted with this response. Interest in our effort has grown continually over the summer. The industry is clearly ready to Take Back ‘MLS’!” Meanwhile, Founder members of the Association have claimed more than 70 domains on the ‘.MLS’ top-level domain during a special Founder claim period that ends on August 15.
Call to action + what does this have to do with me? Done. (Nicely played).
The MLS Domains Association is a not-for-profit membership association formed for the purpose of acquiring the ‘.MLS’ top-level domain. “Although we formed the Association with 15 of the leading large MLS in the country, our membership grew slowly at first,” Bemis said. “We have used the last few months to educate MLSs about our effort, and to help MLS executives lay out the value proposition with their boards of directors,” he continued. “Unfortunately, many of those boards meet only sporadically in the summer months,” he explained. In the last two weeks, the Association has welcomed new members such as Metrolist (CA, Founder member), Consolidated MLS (SC, Founder member), Sandicor (CA, general member), Great Plains REALTORS® MLS (NE, general member), and Florida Keys MLS (general member).
Hilight Non-Profit Status. Done.
Explain Hurdles to Membership Growth. Done.
Illustrate Momentum by mentioning at least 3-4 members. Done.
The Association is accepting all levels of members now, but Founder members are currently able to claim domains during a special claim period reserved for them. “Our Founder-level membership is attractive to MLSs that wish to claim a domain name that others may want or that wish to reserve several domain names,” said consultant Brian Larson, who is advising the Association. The Founder fee gives a member the same governance rights as the MLSs that formed the Association; includes a credit to claim up to 12 domains on the ‘.MLS’ top-level domain; and permits Founders to claim up to 10 domains now, during a special claim period, before general members are able to make claims. MLSs can join as Founders and claim domains during the special Founder claim period until 11:59 p.m. CDT on August 15.
Describe how to join in. Done.
Offer First Dibs on 12 Domain Names if you do join. Done.
Entice immediate action with Incentive : 10 extra domains. Done.
Organizations like the Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED) have reserved a variety of names, like ChicagoHomes.mls, ChicagoMetro.mls, ChicagoRentals.mls, and ChicagoRentals.mls.
Another member mention to further illustrate ‘traction’. Done.
Mention some specific domains so that the concept of the attraction is clear and the potential member starts to think about what they will grab in their list of 22 domains before anyone else. Done.
General members will be able to claim domains during a “General Landrush” running from September 1 through October 15. To claim a domain, an MLS must join the Association – annual dues vary based on MLS size. The MLS then pays a “claim fee” for each domain it wishes to claim. “The General Landrush will be attractive to smaller and medium-sized MLSs that want to secure their internet identities with only one or two addresses,” said Larson.
Prove it is real by stating dates.Done.
Just a personal note but this is a very slippery slope. ICANN has ceased communicating any static dates. Yes, this is necessary for getting any support or investment, but I and many others have been both embarrassed and unemployed as a result of expectations placed upon the communication of dates. Tread lightly.
Show reduced but still worthwhile benefits should someone join in some capacity other than founder. Done.
Identify membership is required to participate in TLD. Done.
Promote General Landrush.Done.
Identify Sunrise Process where intellectual property interests are addressed.X
Point out that you are “small” if you do not participate immediately. Done.
Jothan has been in the domain name industry since 1994, and has helped launch numerous registries, registrars, TLD consultancies and domain conferences, and is currently a consultant in the New Top Level Domain name field, with deep experience and contacts in the domain industry and ICANN arena.