One of the most promising and exciting aspects of the New gTLD Program is the potential for regions, cities, and communities around the world to develop dedicated spaces for the exchange of information, problem solving and relationship-building. With the first new gTLDs poised to launch, FairWinds traveled to Munich for the New Domains 2013 Conference on New gTLDs to learn more about the multiple and varied ways applicants, particularly geographic TLD applicants, plan to develop these spaces to the “right of the dot.”
On Monday, the opening keynote speech was given by ICANN President Fade Chehade. After discussing his ongoing efforts to promote multi-stakeholderism around the world, Fadi surprised attendees by having leaders come to stage to sign the .BERLIN and .WIEN (Vienna) contracts (although, according to Kevin Murphy of Domain Incite, the latter was actually a prop contract and the original was signed later in the week). The CEO of Digital for Aigo, a major Chinese electronics company, gave a presentation on its application for .AIGO, declaring that his company is ‘confident’ in its new gTLD and that the company applied for a new gTLD for many reasons, including brand protection, consumer protection, and Internet marketing cost-effectiveness.
During a panel discussion specifically related to community applications, Colin Campbell of .CLUB noted that there are more than 10 mill .org SLDs already registered and said “wherever there’s a passion, there’s a .CLUB.”
Jordyn Buchanan, who leads Google’s efforts to launch the search giant’s new gTLD registry, took the stage on Tuesday morning. The majority of the information he provided confirmed what has already been said by or about Google’s new gTLDs, including that Google decided to apply for .GOOGLE to obtain a totally secure site. In response to the usual questions about whether gTLDs will help search engine ranking, he said “Probably not,” and referred participants to Matt Cutts’s Plus post.
Other panel discussions on Tuesday included a presentation by Ken Hansen of Neustar on .NYC and Shaul Jolles of Dot Latin on .UNO. Hansen described the process of working with city leaders to develop the TLD and the exciting possibilities for New York City neighborhoods and businesses to have an online presence associated with the Big Apple. Jolles explained that .UNO will be “the Internet in Spanish” and a TLD in which companies can more effectively reach millions of Spanish speaking customers and communities around the world.
Not only was the conference well attended and very well-orchestrated, but the wide-range of presenters and attendees made it extremely valuable in terms of gathering new gTLD industry ‘intel.’ Ultimately, this conference reaffirmed that integrated, community-focused marketing efforts will help, initially, to raise awareness and drive traffic to new gTLDs – but that great content will keep consumers coming back for more.