ICANN has announced that it will allow customers to apply for any ending to their domain name for a fee of $185,000. This means instead of www.ocell.net/blog/ I could host this site at blog.ocell, for $185k. Maybe I’m being cynical, and I’m the last to want to fight progress, but this feels a bit ‘scammy’. I have a couple thoughts on it…
1. This is going to make advertising any site not at one of the currently-standard 22 domain endings difficult. When you see something like foodwechew.com printed on a sticker, t-shirt, or bus, you know that punching those characters in your browser will give you a destination. However, throw foodwe.chew on a billboard, and I don’t think the connection is going to be immediately obvious to viewers.
2. It feels a bit like ICANN is just printing money here. $185,000 is not a small amount of money. One angle is that the extremely high registration cost will keep domainÂ squattersÂ from scooping up domain endings for all of the major brands and franchises. However, I don’t think this is going to keep the Fortune 500 from feeling pressured to invest in registering their properties right away. For a company as large as Sony, for example, the domains are numerous. Bravia, Playstation, Cybershot, and on. What an investment a company like GE must be looking at. And now, think of all of this money going to one organization, ICANN, all at once. That’s printing money right there.
And really, how much impact does this have in the current age of Google. I have to admit that I’ve reached a point where I typically search for the site I’m looking for, even if I’m relatively sure of the domain. At least when you want to guess, you can depend on throwing .com or .org on the end of your best guess with some relative assurance that you’re going to get something relevant. Removing that knownÂ quantityÂ from behind the last dot feels more likeÂ cryptographyÂ a marketing opportunity, to me.
Of course, this is just the evolution of the internet. This was an inevitable step.Â How much longer will domain names even be a relevant part of our connected experience?
My buddy Daniel Evanson told me that Fox has quoted the costs of buying the domains they need at $12 Million.