Friday, July 11, 2008

More dots to connect (to)

Have you ever heard of ICANN? It's not a political campaign phrase, nor some motivational word.

It stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. So what the heck is it? It's the organization that regulates the Internet. I know; sometimes when you're on the Web it's hard to believe that anyone actually regulates it. But ICANN does. Or at least tries to.

And they're about to enact the biggest changes to the way the net has been used in 40 years. (Has it really been that long?)

You're familiar with ".org," ".com," ".edu" and ".gov." These are called TLD's or top-level domain names.

Reuters reports that ICANN has agreed to greatly expand the number of TLD's available. New ones, according to the article will be the Internet equivalent of personalized license plates, except they'll cost more. If you have an extra $100,000 you could have a custom domain name pertaining to just about anything.

Let's say you're General Motors. Think in terms of ".gm." could become Disneyland.mickey, the endings are limitless.

But just in case you'd try to honor the memory of George Carlin with one of those seven words, they're ahead of you (not quite sure what this means). Like the personalized license plates, I think more than a few folks will find a way to push the limit a tad.

These changes, which still need final approval from ICANN's board or directors, would also reflect languages other than English. The Internet is certainly global, so you could expect ".francais" or ".albergo."

This could create a gold rush of entrepreneurs with tons of cash, to make even more tons of cash beating you to the TLD punch. ICANN says trademarks won't be automatically protected. Which begs the question, what's the point of trademarks? ICANN does say, however, the trademark holders will be given first priority. Good luck with that.

If finally approved, this could all start in 2009. So put on your thinking caps, grab your checkbook and start getting creative.

Let me see, videoprofessor.freecomputerlearning or johnwscherer.trymyproduct.

I like the possibilities!

John W. Scherer
John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at