Over the past week, the domainer blogosphere has been buzzing about the new vanity TLD’s that are set to show up in the middle of 2009. In case anyone missed it, for roughly $100,000.00, pretty much anyone that qualifies a registry (any company can easily become one) can apply to have their own TLD. These custom TLD’s were quickly coined as vanity TLDs.
I think for most of us, the question is not what this is, but how will this influence not just domainers, but the internet as a whole. Are trademark owners going to need to protect their names by getting their domain for each new TLD that is created? Will domaining cease to exist (at least in its current form)? How will the search engines adapt?
Of course, I don’t have an answer to any of these questions, but I have my theories just like everyone else seems to. In my opinion, dot coms will continue to get a boost in value for anyone trying to establish an online brand. On the other hand, though, this may open up a lot of opportunities for someone looking to build online stores, niche blogs, and other types of sites that simply require a strong keyword domain, not necessarily a dot com domain name.
As far as search engines go, this will also be an interesting thing to monitor. About a year ago, after extensive testing on my part, I noticed that I have a much tougher time getting an info domain to rank than I do an equivalent com/net/org. I truly believe there is a natural penalty on info domains that makes it more difficult to gain Google’s trust, and I would imagine I would get similar results with other search engines. Does this also apply to other TLD’s that are commonly associated with spam? I guess what I’m trying to say, is that search engines will initially let things shake out, but eventually it will deal with the new extensions and I have a feeling they will continue to give a strong favortism towards com/net/org.
What do you think about the vanity TLD’s? How will they influence domainers?