The Value of New Domains
Ecommerce can mean a number of different things to different people. It can mean the infrastructure that supports an etailer, to the actual process of payment using your credit or debit card online and everything in between. This could be distilled further to mean anything online that has the capacity to generate revenue, be it shopping cart software, business process design, the digital or physical product or the value of the domain name itself.
Marketing trends reported in 2009 that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was starting to accept bids (starting at around $180,000) for one-off suffix names. This meant that a company or organisation could purchase .jobs or .car instead of .com. The difference here is that you would purchase this "Super Domain" and you would be the only organisation entitled to use the suffix. This means that root names based on company name or area of business could facilitate brand domination, more intuitively driving traffic to a central portal.
With last week's historic announcement that ICANN has made the first non Latin character domain names live, it will be interesting to see how this impacts on this concept of "super domains". Will companies buy their super domain in a number of languages ? It may depend upon how generic suffixes such as .car or.jobs translate into new domains in Arabic, and whether this would have the same impact. For a company suffix such as .sony, this may not be as relevant an issue as they may wish not to dilute the impact of the brand name. It may also impact on trademarks which can be domain names themselves, and of course the laws maybe be different in relation to rights in relation to the country and continent.
A side effect of new Chinese and Arabic domain names, could be increased translation software sales, to make these sites and their content available to the full range of the English and Latin character search engines. Or will this mean that web content becomes "siloed" based on language - see the Google search in Arabic where the sites are in Arabic but the domains are still in English to see how this currently works. Will this be the sole change ? I think it more likely that support for non-Latin for domain names will not only drive an increased level of ecommerce, but unearth new relationships between information and knowledge that may not be solely linguistic.