Vanity TLDs (vTLD) Approved

Much talk has been had about the new ‘top level’ domains that were approved by ICANN today in Paris. This ruling will allow companies, groups, and individuals to petition ICANN to create new “Vanity TLDs,” (term coined by David Castello) which in my opinion will end up creating considerable confusion among consumers and huge costs to companies who need to protect their trademarks. This is good news for people who have been working to pass this in an effort to launch new extensions (renewal fees), and it is also good news for .com owners, as the more extensions are created, the more consumers will navigate back to the familiar .com.

Over the past few years, many new extensions have been created – some of which I hadn’t heard of until reading up on this. Included in the list of “newer” but obviously less-used include .pro, .biz, .travel, .mobi, .asia, .jobs, .museum…etc. The entire list of current TLD can be found on ICANN’s website. In terms of usage by consumers, I don’t think there are any websites with these extensions currently in the top 20,000 websites according to Alexa (correct me if I am wrong).

With all the .com branding that’s been done by companies telling consumers to visit their .com website, I highly doubt many will jump at the opportunity to spend upwards of $100,000 to apply for a corporate Vanity TLD (vTLD), and then spend millions of dollars convincing consumers to use it. Sure, some will try it, but if nothing else, it will probably end up watering down their brand and confuse consumers.

Although ICANN is supposedly prohibiting TM-related extensions except for companies that own the TM, companies like Amazon and Apple are almost forced to spend the $100,000 application fee since one could argue that their company name is generic and not protected. Since ICANN plans to auction Vanity TLDs that have multiple bidders, Apple could conceivable pay much more to get .apple so Apple Bank or an apple grower can’t take it.

Here is an example of why using Vanity TLD will pose a problem for companies and even non-trademark related uses. Let’s use Ebay for a second. Sure, it would be cool if they had Art.Ebay, Autographs.Ebay, SportsMemorabilia.Ebay…etc. Great, right? Well, what happens when consumers confusingly type in by mistake? This is going to create hundreds of thousands of additional typos, which will most certainly be grabbed by cybersquatters. While this sucks for Ebay, they are going to have to spend millions of dollars going after these cybersquatters to avoid the traffic run-off. Same thing with any other Vanity TLD. People will assume its .com.

The .com has worked for many years, and it won’t be negatively impacted. These new Vanity TLD will give people the opportunity to buy strong keywords in various extensions, but it won’t likely change web browsing habits. Companies who want to be serious will still use .com, and the values will increase as more people come online.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. Great post. I see this as yet another opportunity for the cybersquatters. Which really means it is going to create more confusion than clarity. Keeping things simple should always be the goal, right?

  2. This is going to be so stupid and a complete clusterf*ck.
    While most won’t go for it – some will. So you’ll have someone like MLB going after “.baseball” and trying to own etc.
    Then you’ll get all sorts of regional domains where someone will take a gamble – hell, $100k and someone thinks they’ll be able to sell “.florida” to everybody in the state. Hotels.florida, fishing.florida, miami.florida

  3. That’s one way to look at it, but I think you are not looking at all the different ways a TLD could be used. Let’s suppose, for example, that .EBAY, owned by EBAY, didn’t sell any domains (there’s nothing that says they have to). So anything.ebay just becomes a search term, leading to the relevant auction. Typos welcome — they are no different from misspellings in the eBay search box. Also there are obvious security benefits that come from owning the entire TLD and controlling the DNS.

    I think a lot of the thinking that goes, “these are dumb, .com will always be king” doesn’t take into account all the different ways a TLD can be used. Sure .com will be king in some ways; the advantage of new TLDs is that the .com way will no longer be the only way. There are interesting models out there — see .TEL at for instance, which uses the DNS as a way to provide information without depending on web pages.

    BTW, I think the application fee may well be higher.


    Hi Antony,
    My concern about typos relates to people not realizing .Whatever is an extension and combining the first two words and adding .com. I think people will need to be educated, which will be difficult.
    I do think it would be cool for a restaurant to own their name .city, but I still think .com will be king – especially when it comes to search results vs. the new vanity extensions.

  4. Elliott,
    I think many domainers are lost in the sauce when it comes to the opportunity that this presents to marketers on madison avenue and corporate america/world. You can’t compare these domains to .com’s and developed sites, yet everyone does. I do not understand why people keep bringing this dead horse back into the equation.
    Change is good. It provides opportunity for others to advance technology and new strategies that were never present in the past. The biggest problem with many of the new TLDs growing in popularity is marketing and advertising. Most focus on domainers, which is a small percentage of the world population. Most have poor business plans when you see how they have failed to grow beyond domainers.
    Now here is an example for you. What happens when you have a major brand with a built in customer base come along like the NBA, and they offer .NBA to their consumers. Instant success, and access to their customers 24 7 to market more products. This is power, and effective marketing. These vTLDs are marketers dreams come true for corporations who know how to exploit them.
    Cybersquatting is caused by domainers, not the rest of the world. Corporate comapanies have the money to protect their brands and will do so. They do it now, and will continue to do it in the future.
    This is the “Me” era and these vanity TLDs will become hotcakes. If a monster brand like Apple can get 2 million people to pay them for services on their subdomain, then Other corporations will do the same thing and create their complete networks now. Alot of the middle men will be cut out of the equation as major brands figure out how to maximize their brand and Point of Sales with a vTLD.
    Now lets talk about madison avenue. Now they have a tool to monitor advertising campaigns. It is very lucrative to own your own extension and easy to monitor campaigns when you own the whole TLD. As an example, lets use .madison as the vTLD, and icecream.madison as the domain. Madison Ave would not have to sell to the general public as one sale to their client would generate much more. Additionally, tracking becomes much easier and effective when you have all the words in the world to work with and build a domain address for marketing.
    A lot of new strategies will evolve from this. Change is constant and that is why you can not stay complacent. It is hard for domainers to understand what I have outlined here. But I have no doubt that it will happen from major brands of the world and madison avenue. Just like a name with targeted traffic is valuable, a targeted .TLD network will be priceless for those companies with major brands and madison avenue.
    In the end, the true winners to all of it are the domain registrars. Time to get into the domain registrar business!

  5. Steve, I would avoid the domain registrar business. The reason is that a registrar is not required to offer all TLDs, and they won’t. If 200 are approved, do you suppose that GoDaddy will present you with 5 pages of check boxes?

    Instead, it’s more likely that registries will be allowed to become registrars also (as .aero and .museum currently are). Current registrars will remain for what will become known as “shared” TLDs, while most new ones will be all-in-one affairs. This is speculation of course, but it seems likely that the current arrangement between registries and registrars will become “fossilized” and remain for .com, .net, etc. but as time goes on will become rarer and rarer.

    In the end, everything will move up a level. Once ICANN stops fretting about how new TLDs might damage the system, then second-level domains (e.g. will become old hat. Who would want a second level domain when you could have a top-level domain.

    Some of you may recall, which allowed people to get a free domain name, for instance Eventually they shut down, no-one wanted them. I suspect that over time the same thing will happen with second-level domains.

    (Elliot – thanks for the shout-out. The blog itself, as opposed to the site, is at I’m going to be posting a lot of informational articles about what people should think about with regard to new TLDs….)

    The check box page will look like this, only with more choices:

  6. I agree with you completely. Big brands spend so much on TV/traditional media promoting .com’s. This will be a trademark headache and will fill the Search Engines with a bunch of garbage.

  7. I’m sure someone out there will probably own TLDs ending in .abogados and .medicos to serve the spanish speaking countries, not to mention all the other lanuages.

  8. Great post Elliot.
    The most important thing that no one considers in the wake of the “I missed the dot COM era and now I can win the lottery and be rich like those guys too” excitement of the moment– is you are not investing in a land rush that will mirror the success of dot COM, you are investing your hard earned money in the belief that consumers will actually embrace it and be able to figure it out and change their behavior. You can meet some of those people on a video clip my latest blog post and your wallet may go back in the pocket.
    If you were opening an ice cream stand on the Vegas strip it’s very different then opening one next to the Hard Rock Casino in Florida. In Vegas you are moving into a situation that took years to create opportunity for you.
    Upon opening you can sell $100K a week, charge higher prices and benefit from people on expense accounts or foreigners with more bang for their buck.
    That’s dot COM.
    In Florida you have to advertise, offer coupons and try to sell ice cream to people who are drunk and gambling after dark. They will leave with just enough to pay for parking, gas and babysitter. Ice Cream?
    That’s a new extension.
    The recent news about Coldstone was a case in point. A few franchises opened in top locations and everyone saw the numbers and thought they could do it too. But 600 have lost their shirts and closed this year alone. Being the only Coldstone in NYC is the not the same as in a strip mall in Pembroke Pines.
    Location, Location, Location!!!
    Location matters.

  9. In this new world emerging it will be about, Development, Development Development.
    PPC will not be enough will well developed viable alternatives on the scene. Sure, some will fall by the wayside but some will certainly stick. The most dynamic on point content will win the day. PERIOD.
    Many it seems have there head in the sand.
    Myth #1 This has been tried before to no avail:
    Fact: Never in our history have corporations and cities and organizations been given the keys to the TLD car.
    I think people are glossing over just how huge this is.
    They have been looking for a way to screw us via reverse domain hijacking for years.
    Now they have other means to not have to play by the old landowners rules.
    They have a license to brand and create as much land as want.
    Land they are sure to brand and develop with millions of dollars. Branded EVERYWHERE.
    This is not .jobs .travel and .anythingelse that we have ever seen!
    Can anyone say .google or .goog ? Imagine direct search navigation into the browser. Imagine a world where .com stops getting branded becasue at the end of the day it has always been about corporate identity. That is why Madison avenue has never bought into buying up key .com generics. Now they have more Ammo.I can go to to find my products. There the “com” is irrelevant.
    Corporations spend millions for 30 seconds of air time on traditional TV. You think they will not shift away from .com to brand there own corporate identity?
    Myth # 2 Now .com will be worth more becasue it is “Beachfront Property”
    Fact: The analogy about Virtual Real Estate is flawed.
    In the real world, what is “beachfront Property” is clearly defined and finite. In the virtual world it is in constant flux. Trends change. Search will change. Viewing habits change and now ways to reach the public are changing. I
    What is considered “beachfront today” is not guaranteed forever. The virtual world is governed by different standards then the real world. If .realestate takes off and is marketed nationally by agents, then guess what. Now this is “beachfront porperty” for this very valuable nice that suddently erodes the value of .com real estate related domains. This is business 101. .
    If .nyc is used and developed and branded by the city of new york and it takes off. Then suddenly that is “Beachfront Property” Content, development, real world marketing and branding is what will carry the day.
    We are in the infancy of the net. Most people still fail to see how early it really is. This narrow minded thinking astounds me. Yes I know many of you are looking out for your investments.
    In the Virtual world “Beachfront property can move right next store and suddenly appear. THIS CAN NOT HAPPEN IN THE REAL WORLD.
    Once again .com is not going anywhere but guess what, more viable alternatives are moving in. Once again what is considered beachfront property in the virtual world is not finite but not in the virtual world. The rules of the game are changing.
    Myth number 3:
    With all the noise people will go to .com becasue it is familiar to them.
    Watching comments on domain forums is akin to asking Broadcast TV execs 30 years ago if cable TV will effect their dynamics bottom line in any way and them saying “no, all the noise of additional channels will drive more traffic to broadcast TV. We started with 3 major networks and the public only trusts these networks”. Then Cable execs saying “The net will not pose a challenge to their viewing habits, cable will remain strong and not be affected by TV moving to the net”.
    Same thing will happen with TLD’s. You can look at .com, like old school NBC and ABC. It did not go anywhere when cable became big but now has to work leaner and meaner to get half as much of the pie. A few decades ago 40 million viewers for a show was major hit TV show. Now everything is so splintered 20 million is a monster hit.
    Dot COM is prime to do well IF IT IS DEVELOPED PROPERLY. It can no longer afford to stay static with PPC links and think it will be king forever. The young kids coming up today already are having alternatives branded into the brains. People want dynamic content.
    So this issue is not black or white. Those who claim to know for sure, are just trying to protect their current brands. We do not know for sure how things will play out.
    Those that do not develop will get left behind. Those that have developed .com’s will have to work harder and spend more to make half as much long term. They will still be able to make money, but those that think this will help there business will be in for a rude awaking in a few years. Development will be the great equalizer. Content will carry the day.
    Owning a .com domain will give you a strategic advantage if you develop and provide quality content. The days of sitting back and getting high on the hog will be few and far between without hard work.
    Change happens. Things evolve. Just because .com was branded early on, in 10 years will not mean it will always be the end all be all. We are already seeing examples of many powerful online businesses that are successful without owning the .com With new TLD’s this will be even more so.

  10. Good counter post Bryan. I don’t agree with a lot of what you say but they are good points to think about.
    “Content will carry the day.” This has ALWAYS been the case.
    “Land they are sure to brand and develop with millions of dollars. Branded EVERYWHERE.” There is a big difference between “heroes.nbc” and “miami.florida”.
    I can see the branding one being used a lot, but I can’t see the .florida types doing as well. Maybe it will, I don’t know but so far no new extension has gained any steam regardless of who uses it on a daily basis. And the more confusion there is, the more likely someone will go back to their tried and true .com

  11. Gordon,
    Thanks for keeping an open mind. Nobody knows for sure how this will play out long term. For those who think this is a win for .com ask yourself this. If you personally could have made the decision to keep things the same, or approve this new world where corporations like Google can use their own TLD’s.
    What would your decision be? Be honest. I do not think one person would say YES, this is great, pass it, I want 100’s more TLD’s and I want a .city and .dallas and .coke. ETC.
    .com is not going anywhere, but no matter how you slice it. THIS IS NOT A WIN.

  12. I will give you that it is not a win.
    I don’t think it is a huge loss in relation to my personal goals, which is to develop great sites on top of the best domains possible.

  13. Great post Elliot.
    The real question is how my microsoft word and outlook will look at these new vTLD’s. After every period will they be creating a link since it will think that it is a web address or email address? Or will I actually have to manually tell it that it is a web page/email so that it underlines and links it. It is so easy right now. It sees a .com and thinks its an email or web address underlines and links it and we are done. Now, who knows?
    In all seriousness, I see it being used by large corporations who use it for marketing purposes. Companies such as professional sport leagues, car companies, banks, etc. The main issue is education and getting people to change. People dont like change, thus this will not affect us in the short-term. But, possibly the long-term.

  14. It is a win for DotCom.
    The value of something is how it compares to others. You are going to see a ton of vTLDs get approved and it will be like the Internet start-up fever of the late 1990’s.
    Then, like the 1990’s, reality will set in.
    Running a vTLD is a mammoth undertaking. You no longer own a domain name, you own a company – with all of the overhead, responsibilities and legal headaches that come with it. 90% of these companies will be thinking with their egos and not with their heads. They will have no idea what they’re getting into. And as soon as some of these vTLDs start crashing panic will spread like wildfire.
    Then you have the public.
    The public is extremely fickle and very resistant to change. It took a once in a generation media revolution just to get the public to learn dotCom. The big corporations know this. They’ve spent a fortune just trying to brand their company with a TLD (dotCom) everyone knows.
    The only people who will profit from all of this will be ICAAN, the registration companies and the lawyers who will handle the unlimited number of TM violations multiplied by an endless number of vTLDs.

  15. David,
    You saying it is a “win for .com” is misinformed and wishful thinking on your part. We are talking about billion dollar companies here branding their own corporate identities and new TLD’s.
    Well funded cites running their own show. major organizations with yearly ad budgets in the hundreds of millions. We have never seen this opportunity before.
    Nobody knows for sure.
    Not saying you cannot continue to be successful but if what you are saying is your are glad and prefer this new way, then you are in a for dose of reality.
    I don’t buy it. You are trying too hard to protect your brand in the face of reality. It is transparent.
    Guys like Gordon, Steve M, and Michael Berkins, you are spot on and correct.
    .com is king, but this can only hurt longterm not help if the landscape changes with billion dollare companies branding themselves.
    You are severely underestimating the forces at play. will still be a powerhouse in this new landscape, but it will not be beyond losing market share if it does not adapt.
    Those that rely on PPC will have to adapt. None of this is “a win.”
    David and Elliot’s thinking is becoming outdated and fast.

  16. “Those who adapt to changes will do well and those who don’t will be left behind.”
    Elliot I agree 100%. There will be new money making opportunities for us all. At the same time, some of the old money making ways will close.
    My only point is to say blindly that this is “a win for .com” does not make sense to me.
    Could it be good for some? Sure. Could it hurt some of us? Sure.
    The only thing we know for sure is now there will be new opportunities by major corporations and Madison Ave, that have been looking to f_uck us from day one. A nerw playing field that none of us have remotely seen before.
    We do not know what will occur with the landscape.
    I think we should all agree to reserve judgment on what is considered “a win”. with so much uncertain.
    That is why it seems to me that those that don’t at least consider all ramifications (both good and bad) before making such certain proclamations are blinded by the sole goal of protecting their brand, not by well thought out analysis.

  17. Yes, Brian, I got to where I am today by staying contiuously misinformed and utilizing wishful thinking.
    I got to where I am by understanding how the public thinks. You may not know this, but I am an historian. And, yes, history tends to repeat itself. If you study the history of radio, television, cable and the Internet you start to see patterns emerge.
    Technology may change, but people don’t.
    I have no idea how big your company is, but when you start making statements like this you sound like you’re living in fantasy land: “Well funded cities running their own show. Major organizations with yearly ad budgets in the hundreds of millions.”
    These same “well funded cities and major organizations” you refer to couldn’t even get it together to buy their own dotComs. And now you expect them to run a TLD?
    Of course, Michael and I don not sit on the fact we own great dotComs. We believe in constant development to keep ahead of the pack. Check out the real estate section of For years it was a simple real estate lead form. As of last night it is now a complete interactive MLS map of every available property in the Coachella Valley.

  18. IMO, follow the search engines. I live near the Michigan/Indiana border. There are many billboards around with Without those billboards I wouldnt have engrained in my head to go to the . Org for info on Michigan travel. I do however know how to use search. Whoever learns how to get to the first page of search will be rewarded irregardless of the right of the dot…that’s why I study SEO in my “spare” time 🙂

  19. David,
    “These same well funded cities and major organizations” you refer to couldn’t even get it together to buy their own dotComs. And now you expect them to run a TLD?”
    Correct David. Madison Ave had always been about branding branding branding. That is why they never came after the key generic .coms to this day. Rick Schwartz has mocked them correctly numerous times because of this. I think they were foolish, but the people in charge of their massive budgets never fully understood the value to the key generics. They dropped the ball. Now they will have their billion dollar clients keep their brands AND market and control their own TLD’s. This gives them tremendous options and brand power as Steve M outlines above. The trademark issue is overhyped becasue if they brand http://www.coke, will still forward to http://www.coke, while there massive budgets will change public habits over time.
    Your premise is wrong. It is not that it is a leap to think they will start their own TLD’s, it is actually consistent with their overall philosophies from day one. Just becasue they never accepted the value of generic category killers in their field does not mean they will not brand their own TLD’s. The logic that they will, good or bad, is consistent with their behavior from day one.
    This gives them a new model that works with what they will want their clients to do. Control numerous channels. Eeven more reason they no longer need these category killers in their minds.
    To be clear, I am not saying how this will turn out, but to underestimate the potential of a .google is a mistake IMO and to assume it is a win for you is even more of a mistake.
    Back in roughly 2000 clear channel attmpted to spend 100’s of million to aquire the .cc TLD for their own companies TLD. The .cc folks turned them down foolishly. Clear Channel was going to do this so that they could brand internally and externally through the entire Clear Channel network their own .cc TLD.
    We already have an example of your thinking that this will not happen being off base based of HISTORY.
    I have extensive experiece in the entertainment industry.
    I spend a few years working in the legal department at MGM. A few years working in a major Hollywood Talent Agency.
    I worked creatively both behind and in front of the camera.
    I have vast experiece in the media world over the past 10 years.
    I also study history,. Thats why your short sighted views surprise me.
    My undersdtanding of your background is that your brother had the vision and foresight to aquire all your domains, then brought you in to sell.
    According to you in a podcast I herard in 1997, you still thought he was crazy and did not buy into what was happening or his vision.
    Then to your credit you took a leap of faith and came to palm Springs and made it happen.
    However, if Michael does not buy those domains, CCIN does not exist today.
    If you know people and think they do not change, think back to what you thought back in 1997 and how you were wrong. Is it possible if people do not change your views here will change too once you start seeing where this goes. You may not be as bold to say this is “a win” without doing the proper analysis and seeing where this goes?
    You could be right, but you could be wrong.
    Once again to be clear. I admire the chance you took and what you have done, but talk about Fantasy land? It was you who once thought your brother buying the domains and his original vision was “fantasy land”.

  20. Brian:
    Let me clear up something for you.
    I thought my brother was crazy in 1997 because working behind a computer sounded incredibly boring compared to performing in the rock band we had.
    And guess what? I still do.
    You’re connecting the dots without knowing the facts. Once Michael showed me the names he’d acquired I got on board in about two seconds. And names like,,, etc in our portfolio? I bought those.
    Now let me explain why vTLDs are the best thing since sliced bread for dotComs.
    Let’s say that the city of Palm Springs buys dotPalmSprings. You will now have literally thousands of dotPalmSprings names out there including BobSmithRealeEstate.PalmSprings, JoesDeli.PalmSprings, JackMarshallCPA.PalmSprings, etc.
    Thousands of people and businesses branding themselves with the word PalmSprings. I would think I died and went to heaven.
    Now, which domain would be internationally recognized at the top of this tremendous branding pyramid for Palm Springs?
    Give you one guess.

  21. Michael,
    My point is the may indeed end up being a win for you, but the jury is out on that and even if it is a win for you that does not mean it is a win for most of .com as a whole.
    You have some mega generics that rep the top .01% of the .com population. You are in a unique postion that 99.9% of all domainers are not.
    This may end up being a win for some and not others.
    For those focusing on PPC, do you think it is a win?
    For those with B grade .com’s (the vast majority of pros) is this a win?
    See my point? Your blanket statements (and other peoples) that this is a win needs to be taken into direct context.
    This could be a win for me too when i am running my TV station PalmSprings.TV locally in Palm Springs Too.
    In the end the best content and dynamic content long term will have success and multiple payers, be it the city, you and me, can do well.
    When a market gets bigger sometimes even less market share equals more money.
    This is not a win for 99% of the .com world IMO.
    I hope we can still meet for lunch sometime and I hope you see my comments for what they are. Lively spirited debate between two people who both have all domainers best interests in mind.

  22. Anyone currently depending on PPC or parking for their revenue has about a year to be ready for the swarm of the vTLD locusts.
    As I wrote on another blog last night, domainers should pick their 5 best domains, learn Dreamweaver and develop them like crazy. If someone as technically deficient as I could learn basic web site development in 30 days in 1997 – anyone can.
    And these names don’t have to be battleships like our or A perfect example of a great affordable dotCom (correct me if I’m wrong Elliot) is It’s a wonderful name, fairly vTLD proof (I don’t see anyone bankrolling dotBirds anytime soon) and a cinch to monetize building your own independent roster of advertisers (it’s the key to financial independance and we answer to no one).
    Domainers with decent dotComs can come out ahead and make the vTLD onslaught work in their favor, but they’re going to have to be very, very clever with their strategies.
    Brian, we’ll catch up sometime for that lunch.

  23. Brian,
    When you attacked me last night that was actually great because many know I’ve been working on a book and that kind of documentation helps illustrate the point. The book is called “failure to innovate” and is like the Domain Game, covering the same timeframe from a totally different perspective: starting my two year sales blitz, cold calling corporate America and trying to convince Hollywood, Madison and Mainstream executives that domains were their biggest opportunity and THEY could seize them now. The reason for my conviction was not speculation and hype like we hear in these forums, but because I had been in their shoes and knew the costs and complexities of their current model firsthand, and also understood how the game would change when businesses moved online and the web becomes a broadcast medium. I was very good at sales and very connected so I got top level meetings at some of the biggest brands on earth and with some iconic figures at over 500 companies. The result is two feet of correspondence that now ten years later is historic insight into how and why the smartest minds in business missed the simplest solution of all. Included is priceless documentation for example from Hollywood agents to whom I tried to argue that as content moved online their talent would want to have their own franchise.
    While I was spinning my wheels doing this, the Castellos were building As creative as I am it never occurred to me that a person could own a city. But when I heard the Castellos tell their story at Traffic, I was blown away. People register domains and put up parking pages or sell them on forums, but here are guys in touch with their marketplaces and actually pounding the pavement and closing advertising sales.
    When you attack Michael and Elliot you cross the line. It’s clear you don’t have a clue and you are wasting everyone’s time. At the same time you have brains and enthusiasm so if you are really serious about succeeding there are no better teachers from whom you can learn. It took me 15 years of 15/7 days amassed in the Internet reading every article ever written about technology, domains, new ideas, platforms, branding and online retailing and more. I know Michael brings the same to the table and Elliot’s learning curve was hastened because of his willingness to listen and learn from multiple perspectives.
    In the two years since everyone is pimping these different extensions and bsing about what could or would be, Elliot did what no one thought possible, right before our eyes. He has his top 5 domains developed and if you look around this blog advertisers are paying to be here.
    All of us have been in private forums where the top minds in cyberspace interact. I think I’ve read over a million posts and written many more.
    There’s no way anyone entering this business could get this field-real insight and perspective.
    So if us old farts appear out of touch- let me give you an example of how in touch I am. You don’t think I know you but I know more about you then you know about yourself. See last week you left a nameless message on my machine pretending to be a reporter and asking for an interview. You assumed you were anonymous, like many do in these forums and behind privacy shields. But I never go into a meeting unprepared, so using my Google search savvy I took your phone number and ran it through a variety of keywords which led to unmasking your identity, your domains, your movies and a lot more. This took less then 10 minutes then I called you back and you blew me off.
    If I can find you as easy as that without your name or a keyword, you might want to stop and consider what skills are needed before making assumptions about search and navigation.
    I suggest that you take a deep breath and slow down. Go to Amazon and get the Book of Gossage, Ogilvy on Advertising and The Domain Game- take them to the beach and stay until you read them cover to cover. Then you can head over to my blog where 15 years of all the articles and forum interactions have been distilled down into 3300 pages. The blog is really a draft for a co-writer to boil down for the book. But everything you need to know is there– none of it my theories, but all proven real-world examples with supporting documentation showing a wide variety of scenarios of how people are succeeding online.
    I wish you domain success (.com)

  24. Thanks for the advice Owen.
    No research was needed. I was upfront when you called me back. I said this is “Brian Berke”.
    Reason for the call was I wanted to interview you for a blog I am helping my friend NY out called FromThePress.TV
    So nothing was done undercover. No detective work was needed. One thing about me is I am a straight shooter. In the minute we talked before I had to run, you asked who I was, and I told you my name. I do not operate in a covert way or post under alias like many do in the business.
    I also do not claim to always be right. But if I told you the success I’ve had making money in the world of .TV in the last 18 months you would not believe it.
    In addition am in talks with major media companies and networks and those in the know within my small circle know this to be fact.
    I have started shooting content for my first venture which will be online later this year. My platform is currently being developed. I have the top real estate agents, hotel people and restaurant people signed on to work with me. I have celebrities that will be making appearances on the site. I am focused on using my background and contacts in the entertainment community to my benefit.
    I too have a diverse background and always done what people said was impossible.
    Owen I hope we can be friends and I could learn from you, and maybe just maybe you can learn a thing or two from me.
    At the end of the day Owen I wish you nothing but success and I will take you words to heart.
    As far as David, I do not feel I “attacked” him. We had a lively spirited debate and I have a huge amount of respect for him. I consider his brother Michael to be a mentor figure of mine who has helped me a great deal.
    I too respect the heck out of Elliot just do not agree with some of his views. Does not mean I am 100% right or he is 100% right. I too have exchanged a few private e-mails with Elliot and he has always been gracious to me.
    Part of the business is exchange views and ideas.

  25. Bryan said,
    [i]To be clear, I am not saying how this will turn out, but to underestimate the potential of a .google is a mistake IMO and to assume it is a win for you is even more of a mistake.[/i]
    If Google registers and sells .google domains, sign me up asap, because guess what? You’ll be able to type in your domain name WITHOUT the .google, and guess whose site (if developed) will come up first?
    Meet the new .com

  26. Wow,
    Good conversation here. Is there a site to view applications submitted for these vTLDs?
    As we watch this process unfold, it will give us many answers to what is about to occur.
    Remember, Corporate America, Major Brands, and Media companies all know now that they missed the boat with keywords and the internet thanks to domainers and the prices we charge =).
    Do we domainers honestly think they have not learned a lesson from this? Especially with everything going local?
    David, I agree will still remain great for world wide appeal and all generic geo domains. But if the city of Palm Springs launches .palmsprings, it will hurt your bottom line some if not alot. Remember this is a local world now. Those cities who do this, will not be too interested in the global appeal(this is a broad statement, I think you know what I mean here), as they are looking to build true value for the city and small business owners.
    Honestly, I can see popular tourist locations conducting effective branding and marketing and reaching out to the world who wants to learn about their city, with this example visit.palmsprings, leading them to their complete network and yellow pages of small business owners.
    Not picking on you, but this is just an example. Many generic.coms will maintain and increase in value. But I have to agree with Brian, there will be many that will depreciate. I see the ones being hit the hardest are the lontails, brandables and call to action .coms.
    But this all depends on who moves in to buy vTLDs. If it is small time companies, it will be dead in the water. But, if the big boys move in………..

  27. Steve:
    Depends on the city name. Almost all Palm Springs businesses want outside revenue (tourism). In that case,the international brand of will trump. With a city like Des Moines, they may get better traction out of branding themselves between the locals.
    My point is that most Palm Springs businesses don’t have the word Palm Springs in their URL. And that is why I believe having a thousand dotPalmSprings URLs out there is utlimately better for the Palm Springs brand than for any individual Palm Springs vTLD.
    Logically, it would appear that the vTLD dotPalmSprings could take a slice from However, I quickly learned back in 1997 not to deal with logic, but with human nature when it comes to the Internet.
    You suggested visit.palmsprings for a complete network and yellow pages of small business owners.
    Why not local.palmsprings, localdirectory.palmsprings, business.palmsprings, businesses.palmsprings, mybusiness.palmsprings, yellowpages.palmsprings, whitepages.palmsprings or businessnetwork.palmsprings?
    What was the URL for that local business directory for dotPalmSprings, again?

  28. Steve I agree 1000% with everything you just said. I have been meaning to call you for a while and will early next week.
    I am sorry I will not be at the Geo Domain Expo as I already had a trip to the east coast booked during that time that I could not change. To be honest, I wish we had more notice as people make plans months in advance during the 4th of July time and this year it seemed we had very short notice of when the expo was planned.
    To the event organizers I hope next year you give us an additional 2-3 months notice if at all possible.

  29. Brian,
    You didn’t provide this insight before. You’ve got great geos and a way to build video content. That’s a great plan.
    Lots of synergy. Let’s talk next week.

  30. Elliot,

    I was reading through the comments last night and this morning and one thought keeps coming back to my mind. Is the only real winner here “Google”. If they can buy there own tld and then sell domains under it who do you think will come up first in a search engine. Example.

    Wouldn’t Google at this point in time control all searches by being able to place there own tld at the top of the search engine list. Sure they would still put up a dot com or two possibly even a .palmsprings. But who would stop them from controlling the tlds and the domains and where they are placed.

    Secondly IMO wouldn’t those with the real good names such as the cities or one word dot coms be in the most trouble. That is where the money is not in the long tail names or second tier names. (which is what I have) It stands to reason would be worth much more than (imaginary name)and much more developable

    I am in no way as accomplished as any of the previous commentators, but I would be curious to here there’s and your opinions.

    An interesting point about Google, Steve. I don’t think they would do that since their objective with organic search is to find the best content the searcher wants. If they unfairly weight their tld over others and the top resuts weren’t necessarily the most applicable, searchers would get annoyed and possibly use other search engines. Anything is possible, but I think the user erosion would be more damaging than the registration fees would provide in the short term.
    IMO, a problem that new tlds will face is speculators who don’t buy to develop. If that happens, the best names will go undeveloped or underdeveloped, making consumer adoption more difficult.

  31. Few if any cities will ever buy and run their own registries.
    Too much time, work, and money; and they do not have the tech skills to successfully (and profitably) pull it off.
    Furthermore, they’d likely find themselves buried in lawsuits due to critical questions like who gets to have/use the category killers like Doctor.NewYork? Attorney.Chicago? RealEstate.LosAngeles?
    Tlds cannot be successfully run by committee; which is what a city really is; and this is not the way to spend their resident’s tax dollars.
    The failure (and virtual; and coming; failures) of tlds like .travel, .pro, .biz, .tel, .info, .tv, and .mobi will pale in comparison to the 100’s of failures of new tlds over the coming years and decades.
    Though the international marketplace will never lack for those who foolishly believed that they could do what others just as smart as; and with just as much money as; themselves … could not.

  32. Elliot,
    Your probably right, I just have begun to look at Google like Microsoft and Windows operating system. Someone might not like the Windows platform and how it operates, but what are they going to do. There are not that many other choices in the business world. Google as they grow and possibly take over search results for Yahoo, they will have more and more control over the market.
    I just think there is a lot of money to be made by owning the search engine, owning the search term, and possibly controlling how the search term is developed. Who’s to say they would not develop there own search terms and domains with a high level of content. They don’t care about the domainer they want the consumer.

  33. Steve M you make some great points about city sites and vTLDs.
    Palm Springs is an interesting city because the brand Palm Springs really covers the entire Coachella Valley including the cities Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells and La Quinta.
    Over half of advertisers are not located in Palm Springs. And it gives us a big advantage over the City of Palm Springs tourism sites because they CANNOT promote a business if they are not located in Palm Springs while we can promote anyone who will benefit from the Palm Springs brand.
    See where this gets interesting?
    And you are 100% correct – which businesses would get the primary category addresses like Doctor.PalmSprings, Dentist.PalmSprings amd CPA.PalmSprings?
    By far, the comment we hear most often from our clients is, “Thank God the city doesn’t have the dotCom. They’d screw it up.”
    Running a city vTLD will be a huge legal and political task. Frankly, I’m extremely curious to see how this all is going to play out. In Palm Springs, we only have to worry about (and it’s a handful). We can make all the predictions we want about the future of vTLDS and the effect they SHOULD have on the Internet, but right it’s like we’re all gawking at a beautiful new sailing ship sitting in a harbor. May be impressive, but it’s future and success is all going to depend on the Captain and crew. These things don’t run themselves.

  34. Speaking of Google …. anybody who uses Firefox 3 has had to come to grips with their new address bar which decides what it thinks you are trying to type. Plus the developers made it impossible to completely get rid of, although with some effort you can come fairly close. That doesn’t bode well for direct navigation type in traffic. I note that Google contributes a lot of money and resources to Firefox.
    I’d imagine that a lot of domain name fragmentation would give the search engines more power. There are a few other things that escape my recollection right now, but I own a few geo-generic domains and whenever I see something that I figure affects them I take notice and even if I can’t remember right now what specific things I’ve seen I definitely know that I was already suspicious of Google and was on the verge of viewing them as “the enemy” even before this ICANN thing and Firefox.

  35. No shortage of opinions here. I haven’t considered all the ramifications yet. But my basic reaction is that with new tld’s flooding (make that polluting) the internet, development will be critical. Distinguishing oneself through content development relevant to the keyword and domain extension will be the ultimate goal for standing out in a sea of domain names.
    On a separate note, it’s a sad day to see ICANN continue to move in strange directions like this. There is no real additive value to the net experience with this proposed vtld. The underlying incentive is to financially benefit a small select group. We have plenty of evidence to instruct us that unlimited new tld’s will offer little more than mass confusion. The degree of speculation will be astounding. The internet “noise” level will be raised considerably as people have to wade through this myriad of domain extensions. All this supposed benefit (per ICANN), for me, looks like empty promise smoke and mirrors.
    Personally, I think the dotcom guys will be safe – especially the well established likes of, etc. Any tried and true, previously known web address will continue to be golden in the mind of the consumer. Goes back to the trust and familiarity factor.
    I’m surprised I haven’t read more vocal criticism of the vtld concept. To me, it seems overwhelmingly a poor idea. And the impetus behind it a real joke. You might call me cynical, but I’ll stand firmly behind my belief that lots of new tld’s will not advance the internet or push it to some higher plateau. ICANN and related constituents will just have lots more money and influence.
    I’ll say this, a few enterprising types will make lemonade from lemons – and that’s a good thing. There are budding enthusiasts out there who are pretty excited about this new possibility … and I would not begrudge anyone their dream. So we’ll see. Something pretty cool may rise from the ashes of all this. It just irks me that it’s all going to be launched via ICANN under the pretense of logic, good business, or “the best interest” of the internet. Equates to incredible intellectual dishonesty in my view.

  36. After reading all the posts between Brain Burke and David Castello, IMO David Costello is spot on.
    Given the information ICANN has provided on their ‘yet to be developed launch’ for .anythingyoucanthinkof extension, the history of the existing extensions and more importantly, the Costello brothers real life experience with and other great domains, I know where I’m putting my money.
    With regard to cities and billion dollar corporations jumping on to their own extension – good luck.
    I too have dealt with numerous high-level officials in both large corporations and government. As David said, for the most part, they still don’t get the .com extension, so don’t expect anything out of them for the vTDL anytime soon – especially when they see what the cost of registration is. Remember, billion dollar corporations still have to answer to shareholders.
    Also, I really don’t think it is a matter of domainers protecting the .com territory. Most domainers I know are in the .com territory because it provides protection, security and value for the domainer when these types of changes occur.
    Again, I have to side with David regarding the behavioural actions of people using the Internet. Ultimately, they will decide – just as they have done with the bulk of the currently available extensions that most do not know or care about.
    Of course only time will tell, but as they say, if you want to look to the future, history is a pretty good guide.

  37. Dotcom is King. It will always be King. Just like beautiful women will always be the most desired. Every second that passes makes dotcom stronger, and it makes most everything else weaker.
    Give it a rest. Whatever happened to .eu? Haven’t even heard people talk about that disaster. Dotmobi sucks….99 percent of the people who were in favor of dotmobi are borderline retarded. They actually said that there are more cell phones than computers, so blah, blah, blah. ALmost every one of their points was idiotic. Now they are dead broke.
    Dotcom is the beautiful woman. You can bring in lots of other women, but the only one who will make you sit up in your chair (if she was yours), is the dotcom.
    There are at least 100’s and probably 1,000’s of generic dotcoms that would absolutely change one’s life forever if he/she acquired it. You could go from being broke to instant millionaire if someone bestowed one of these jewels on you.
    There are very names in extentions other than dotcom that automatically make the owner a millionaire. Very few life-changers.
    If someone gave you 500 billion dollars and told you to come up with an extention that would rival dotcom…you couldn’t do it. Just like Warren Buffett and his Coca Cola analogy….you can’t make RC Cola number one in the world no matter how much money you have at your disposal.
    You either get it or you don’t. It is really quite simple.

  38. Some are perhaps quite familiar with the push for gcTLD’s (Global City TLD’s) that have been going on for quite sometime. Perhaps a decade or so with failed attempts.
    A search on CircleID will reveal this.
    In one article Point/CounterPoint, when the author of the piece, Tom Lowenhaupt (who happens to also be one of the folks wanting to run the .nyc registry), was queried about the rationale behind such an effort his response was,
    “You should have been with me at a recent Rotary Club meeting. The chapter I addressed was composed of recent immigrants operating a wide variety of small businesses. Once they understood that I was talking about the possibility of their acquiring good domain names with identity, they were on board. One told of the woes of acquiring a decent .com name. And as a former government official, I can attest that civic identity is very important. So there’s no doubt they are wanted and needed.”
    Berlin was the city that was the primary attention turned down for this. But, it was not “BERLIN” the city but the stooges that wanted the TLD and to run the registry. Unless things have changed drastically, Berlin had stated publically that it will fight any attempt to have a .berlin or .ber extension. They viewed this as a violation of their sovereignty and, being incorporated, violated their corporate identity from the city government perspective.
    “After a recent hearing at Berlin’s City Parliament, Michael Donnermeyer, speaker of the Berlin Senate, said the right to the name Berlin belonged to the city and has to be protected. For the young company dotBerlin GmbH that is applying for a new city top level domain (TLD) with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Senate’s blockade could kill a long-nurtured project and could set a bad example for other initiatives like .london, .paris or .nyc, sources said.”
    In the example of .nyc push and petition signing …again, not endorsed by or forwarded by New York City itself but by a couple of individuals who were selling the idea to immigrant groups and having them sign petitions. Of course, those two individuals would run the registry.
    The biggest concern here would be an issue of:
    Is everything or or domain.palmsprings endorsed by that city? Or even the perception that each domain, regardless of subject or content, is a reflection of that city?
    I also recall a Frank Schilling moment when asked what he thought the future of the internet and domains would be, he also mentioned the possibility of a .goog or .yaho type TLD.
    I call it like I see it…a money grab. I can not but help but feel that ICANN itself is rift with not only its own greed but by the enormity of this industry of secondary market selling. An industry that has got to be the most loosely controlled and regulated multi-billion dollar industry on the planet.
    It was reported in the NY Times that already .sports has multiple applicants.
    “If multiple parties want a name — as is already the case with .sports — conflicts will be settled through auctions.”
    There is little doubt that multiple petitions had been submitted for such a domain name prior to this announcement. And that in itself may have been a catalyst for such a move on ICANN’s part.
    So who is it? ESPN? FOX, CBS, ABC?
    And how many millions would these goliaths pay for such a domain? Forget about the expected price being in the $100,000.00 names.
    What about .football. Will it be NFL or FIFA?
    Something very important and perhaps even more noteworthy that had been buried by this news is:
    “The Icann board also passed another less controversial proposal that would allow these domains to be registered in scripts other than Roman characters, like Chinese, Arabic and Cyrillic. Specific countries could receive the equivalent of their two-letter country code, like Bulgaria’s .bg, in their native alphabet.”
    Say hello IDN’s.
    We are looking at an internet that is about to become so fractured and cluttered. Seems to me it will be dominated by hundreds if not thousands of INTRAnets within the internet.
    But keep an eye on China. There are many signals coming out China about a breakaway from the traditional internet and creating and controlling their own.

  39. So far I have not read anything about the possibility of people setting up a TLD like .con (admittedly I have not yet read a whole lot on the vTLD subject). I’m sure if it was worth while for Kevin Ham to reach the agreement and configure the .cm unregistered domains to forward to him a typo like .con could be worth the application fee.

  40. David:
    Thank you, I guess I should have read a little more before posting. Now that you have already addressed it for me, I found on icann’s site where they talk about that issue.


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