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The New Dot-Biz TLD compared to Dot-Com

Written By: Kevin Clune

Would a rose.com by any other Top-Level-Domain (TLD) smell as sweet?
Some entrepreneurs seem to think so. They’re betting that they can
profit by investing in the new dot-biz extensions set to go live this
October. Once again, single generic words like “business” or “home”
will be up for grabs for use in domains like business.biz or home.biz
thanks to recent moves by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN), the organisation in charge of managing the
Internet’s TLDs.

While dot-biz is not the only new TLD soon to be available, it is the
one most likely to challenge dot-com for a share of the domain market
for businesses and the one first expected to go live – making it the
new TLD of choice for some. But how valuable dot-biz names will end
up being remains to be seen.

Though the dot-biz TLD can clearly play a niche role as a less
expensive alternative to dot-com, the dot-com extension has several
advantages over the dot-biz TLD. First and foremost, the Internet
grew up with the dot-com suffix and that three-letter extension has
been firmly imprinted into the minds of every Internet user. This
helps to explain why other General-TLDs like dot-net, and dot-org are
not as popular or profitable as their dot-com counterpart.

Additionally, it seems likely that the biggest Internet players such
as Amazon.com will buy up their dot-biz extension and merely redirect
traffic to their dot-com site. Most of these companies have trademark
rights to the name already and are allowed to apply for them before
the general public.

This means two things: first, many very lucrative names will not be
available for entrepreneurs to buy, and second that companies will
not invest very much money to market their dot-biz extensions.
Consequently the dot-com extension will not receive anywhere near the
amount of marketing attention that went into promoting the dot-com
TLD (don’t expect the Super Bowl in 2002 to be for dot-biz what it
was for dot-com in 1999!). Without this push, the dot-biz extension
will probably remain in the background.

So it looks like the dot-com TLD will likely be the market leader for
the foreseeable future. But while many of “the best” dot-com names
are already registered, many are not being used. A recent study shows
that as much as half of the registered domain names are not in use.
The domain market will therefore center around trading names with the
dot-com extension that have already been registered on markets like
Sedo.co.uk, or Greatdomains.com. Here buyers and sellers of already-
registered names can connect with one another to utilize their
valuable dot-com domains.

But while the dot-biz extension will not eclipse dot-com, it
definitely will have an important secondary role as a cheaper and
more accessible alternative to dot-com. Just don’t think that
business.biz to fetch the $7.5 million that its dot-com predecessor
did anytime soon.

About the Author

Kevin Clune is the Country Manager for the US, UK and Ireland at
Sedo GmbH (www.sedo.co.uk). Sedo is the leading European domain
exchange with over 250,000 unique visitors to its German, English,
French, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch Sites.

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