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May 20, 2007



Get .MS names much cheaper at http://www.nic.ms/


That's actually already possible with i-names from Neustar (the company that brings you .biz and .us), and many corporations have already registered them. They are administered and behave just like domain names: check availability at www.1id.com. @google is already taken. Microsoft is "@microsoft." IBM is "@IBM." Both taken.
Today Neustar runs a proxy server at http://xri.net. With a Firefox extension you simply type in the browser bar @microsoft*billg and if you were billg you could send an email, invoke a service or be rediredted to a web site with that i-name. And with OpenID and MS Cardspace you would be able to sign into MSN with @microsoft*(name). The future is already here...

***FS*** Appreciate you writing and don't mean to close the door too hard but most domainers view this as a total scam (money grab) because it's not authoritative and only serves to enrich the corporation. I know neustar would love to inject themselves into the namespace with "dot anything" (I would like free money too) but this is just not going to happen globally.. there is too much money at stake to give Neustar the keys.. and they just don't have enough dollars to fight for their position.

Christopher Ambler

Frank, what do you think ICANN's response would be to, say, IBM applying for .ibm?

What do you think IBM's response would be when ICANN says, "Okay, that'll be a $100,000 application fee, just like everyone else?"

What do you think IBM's response would be when ICANN says, "Sorry, we're going to have to turn you down because your TLD is too limited and won't serve the Internet. We don't feel comfortable giving you service at the root level for a private TLD."

What do you think ICANN would say when IBM says, "How about we pay $250,000 a year for root service?"

And then what do you think the court would say when ICANN says, "We want a TLD, but ICANN, the monopoly provider, is charging us a quarter-million for service, and we have no competition to keep prices realistic. Isn't that a monopoly?"

Purely hypothetical questions, of course, right?

***FS*** I think times are changing Chris. Corps are going to demand the right to add a GTLD at some point.. but not today. I think US$100,000 is nothing to these corps.. they would spend that and have a good laugh at how cheap it was. I think the thing that could ultimately derail ICANN is the thing it doesn't expect.. and that thing is a bunch of powerful corporations lining up at the door in Marina Del Rey with pitch forks burning stakes, lobbyists and court orders to get a new GTLD. TLD's are as easy to add as domains (in the final analysis)

Josh L.

I noticed this when looking at a new product launch they had recently and thought it was more than interesting. I have been looking into a strategy similar to the .bank theory that was being kicked around recently for a startup I have. It is security related and we thought our own .tld would be an interesting idea to stop fraud. The problem is that ICANN states they need to be opened for anybody to purchase a domain in that TLD. Which is why this is weird to me...Why would Microsoft open themselves up to outside people registering .MS domains for $100 and having people think they are "authentic" MS websites?

Seems to me they are just testing the waters...maybe trying to break the .com stranglehold so people stop generating type-ins and making you guys so much money :).

***FS*** Well they have their work cut out for them .. The thing i didn't mention in my post is that the .com namespace is like a global multi-trillion dollar company. So many interests touch it. Even if they tried to launch .MSN or takeover .MS, it's cheaper to come through the middle and buy every single present day domain name (even at 15 times current 20x multiples) than going around.. Think about it this way.. anyone could buy every privately owned .com of merrit for about 10 billion. It's just so much harder (more expensive) to change global human behavior. There are huge politics.. people affected globally... it's hard. Believe me, I've thought about it for half a decade. :)


--> and so on until every major global corporation has their own GTLD.

A handlful? Unique, probably memorable. When "every major" has their own GTLD, you have the same situation as .info .biz .mobi ... So much noise that people won't hear or see. They'll just go to "whatever" dot com.

***FS*** So, I agree with you. But perhaps in 40 years (a few generations down) after many thousands of corporate TLDs came to be.. when everyone knows about the possibility of different extensions and they become easier to add.. That's when they might render existing .net/org worthless and .com weaker. But certainly not worthless. I know, it probably won't happen (Too many politics keeping .com strong) Too much money at stake. But you never know.

"***FS*** I think times are changing Chris. Corps are going to demand the right to add a GTLD at some point.."

Well I would say let them or even better give it to them for free tomorrow it won't make a huge difference.
Factors to consider:
1 - Majority of public is already conditioned so you'll have to start "BRANDING" your ext. to the new generations for it to gain momentum.
2 - It's about content and the majority of content makers are already heavily invested in .com
3 - Most big corps already own their .com and do a great job handling searches with good search apps/directory structure or using subdomains etc. Why visit any .ms if I can type in microsoft.com already. If I can't find what I'm looking for from their/(“your“) home page they/(“you“) need to fix the portal/navigational structure of the home page. Maintaining a crappy navigational/search app on a site won't get fixed with your own .whatever.
4 - Trademark restrictions prevent most from registering domains like MicrosoftBlogs.com and a lot of companies already use this form. So if a corp wants it's .com it will either register BrandnameWhatever.com and develop this or forward it to a .com subdomain or dir. Or sue the guy that registered it.
5 - If you're a big corp with lots of exposure already it's much easier to use stuff like: money.cnn.com or even better for the "normal person" cnn.com/MONEY/.
6 - I myself like the shorter ext. like .com and the better .xx's for countries so I'm not even planning on typing even more than I already do.
7 - Real professional content creators will not degrade themselves to second-rate extensions not even when they’re free. So .goog will be a mom and pop domain.
8 - Better apply for the typo ext., too! I just typed .ggog someone else will type .google a web savvy guy will try .glg a lazy one .gl…… get the point?
9 - A dot is an obstacle just like a hyphen. I’d prefer numbers because it’s proven through research that people stop and think if they see a number and they don’t have the same reaction when they see a dot or hyphen. That is why subdomains don’t do such a good job type in wise that is. Because 2 dots is even worse than 1 (you noticed you slowed down with you’re reading? Yep that’s the numbers). Extending your extension is the third worst thing you can do after using subdomians or a hyphen in your domain name. Don’t believe me? Anyone typed in .travel lately? And why do you prefer to type travel.com instead of travel.travel? It’s not only longer it even looks ugly. I wouldn’t want to see that last domain appearing on my corporation's travel ad campaigns.
I could think of dozens of setbacks and obstacles like these any BIG corp will have to overcome to make this a serious .com threat . So it won’t happen. Frank remember 1- 800? History repeats itself and it will again with .com at least for the US an globally for big corps.

So if you’re a CEO of a big corp. planning to roll out a corp. domain like .coke (I would type .ck BTW so better get that one too) please give me your money and I’ll double it in .com lol

***FS*** You sure make some outstanding points here. I think I agree with most of them.


I can see this as possible, but really there are thousands of companies out there, what a nightmare for extensions to remember. And you could get companies like Monsanto and Miscrosoft fighting over .MS or .MSN for example. But maybe the big, iconic companies would go for this as a piece of their marketing. Hopefully not in this generation.

Lea de Groot

Its interesting - I'm in the .au domain space and there is constant talk here of 'should we change the system to be remove the com, and just go .au, similar to .de'
What I want to know is - why don't we remove the GTLD extensions altogether? Why shouldn't Sergey's email be sergei@google with nothing after it? Why do we need a TLD at all?
Now thats something to think about!

***FS*** Yes it is :) .. hard to run though .. I mean, hard for companies in 2007/8/9 to mechanically operate their own GTLD even if they were open and free for the taking on a first-come first served basis.

David Wrixon (aka Rubber Duck)

It is all about mindshare. If it can be created through advertising then you can theoretically get anything to work. The problem is that if you introduce a new extension label then you are effectively having to work on branding two labels instead of one. That makes remembering more difficult by the power of two and the advertising costs go up accordingly. At the moment big corporates brand on the first label and the second is already taken care of.

As domains become more expensive there will come a point where it becomes uneconomic to buy a domain rather than just throw a few more million dollars into the advertising budget. Frankly, compared with most big corporate advertising budgets domains are still chump change, so it ain't go to happen anytime soon.

***FS*** Probably correct sir.


i just realized i own wifi.ms and i didnt even know it----i guess i was reaching a bit
go .ms!


Waste of time...only the top 100 or so domaniers make enough money to do this as a full time job the other hundreds of thousands just keep the registrars and domain parking co.s in business...what would anyone visit widgets.com for example and get substandard links to widget related sites when Google does a far better job? Why is Google in business? what moron types in finance.com when they want to look up a ticker? They will go to Yahoo Finance, MSN Money or a branded site. This entire business is bogus for all but the top 1% who were just luck or had foresight and snapped up the very best generic and typos.

***FS*** I used to think something along those lines as well RJ.. and I came very late to this business. There are many thousands of people who make a direct living in this space and many thousands of others on the perifory who do okay, augmenting their income. You are certainly entitled to your beliefs, but there are huge untapped opportunities for those who care to learn. The internet is still quite young. More likely: The biggest 100 operators will one day emp[loy 10's of thousands of others. That's the direction I'm seeing anyway.


This is a no brainer slam dunk Frank, nice to see you writing about it, and one that I have thought about (since 1998) and thought, should have been adopted, from the out set of the Domain Name Systems adoption, and use of TLD's and Domain Names.

It could have ruled out the possibility of TM infringement by gTLD registrants, registering descriptive TM inclusive domain names, in gTLD's, and placed the arguments over who gets which Trademark TLD, in the hands of the TM holders Lawyers, to battle it out.

Ravi Venkatraman

"Think about it this way.. anyone could buy every privately owned .com of merrit for about 10 billion."

Looks like Marchex has been following this.
Marchex recently acquired more than 100 Spanish-language Web sites from two separate parties.
Marchex paid a total of $10 million in cash for all of the Web sites.


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