Ready, fire, aim…

Are you tired about all the hoopla over the recent ICANN meeting in Paris and the decisions made there? The most controversial is the decision to open-up the web to more top-level domains (.tld). In brief, brandholders and others will be able to create new custom .tld’s. These might include generic ones like .car or .pharmacy or brand-based ones like .acecarcompany.

Some of the media predictions for this new practice are dire and disturbing while other reactions are more even-handed. BusinessWeek looks into their crystal ball and sees a nightmare and the legal and intellectual property community preach caution.

We’d suggest brandholders adopt the old IBM adage “THINK . If your are considering what to do about the new .tld’s take your time and THINK it through. Many are rushing to the finish-line to adopt a strategy now. Here’s a guide on how to get started:

  1. You have time to approach the problem analytically the process is not finalized and applications will not be accepted until early next year
  2. Don’t be very worried about squatters there are significant safeguards in the process to protect rights holders
  3. Let business drive the decision your company’s strategy should be the starting point for making a decision
  4. Think about the lifetime amortized costs expenses from establishing a custom .tld will be realized over the entire life of the investment
  5. It isn’t all about your brand there will be impact on partners customers and others
  6. Risk to reputation and brand are drivers security strategy must be part of the decision
  7. Form a cross-functional team the ramifications of adopting a .tld strategy will affect many aspects of your business.

For now start with number 7 to evaluate and if it makes sense execute a .tld strategy. Large companies should include legal IT risk management web development marketing product development customer service and strategic planning functions at a minimum. Include other functions depending on the nature of your business. Focus on business drivers in order to decide what to do. In fact product