Barely a day has passed recently without a news report about how companies are being forced to apply for new top-level domains to prevent cybersquatters moving in on their brands.
It’s complete nonsense, of course, brought about by a lack of basic research coupled with years of bad feeling towards the domain name industry and an ICANN new gTLDs outreach campaign that spent six months failing to effectively tackle widely held misconceptions.
Cybersquatters are not going to apply for new gTLDs. If they do, they won’t be approved.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that we’re not going to see lots of “defensive” new gTLD applications.
Due to the way the program is structured, it may actually make strategic sense for some companies to apply for a dot-brand gTLD even if they are otherwise pretty clueless about domain names.
It worries me to think that a few years from now the TLD space – which is currently running at almost 100% utilization – will start to resemble the second level in pretty much every major TLD, with lots of essentially unused, redundant defensive domain names.
I don’t think this will be good for the domain name industry or ICANN.
That said, what looks good for ICANN and the domain name industry is of little concern to brand owners – they just want to make sure their brands are not damaged by the program.