... marketers and the global search engine optimisation industry.
The current Domain Name System, which performs a lookup service to translate user-friendly names into network addresses for locating internet resources, is restricted in practice to the use of ASCII characters, a practical limitation that set the original standard for acceptable domain names.
Internationalised domain names can only be used with applications that are specifically designed for such use; they require no changes in the infrastructure of the internet.
Speaking at the MediaPost Search Insider Summit this week, Jennifer Wolfe, president of Wolfe Domain, acknowledged that while this may seem a potential threat to search experts, marketers need to look at the millions of dollars that companies have invested and assume they're not doing it without a plan.
Grant Simmons, director of SEO and social product at The Search Agency, told the conference that he recognises the branding opportunity for companies like L'Oreal and Johnson & Johnson - but unless it's adopted by search engines, he doesn't see any change in SEO.
Half of the top hundred global brands who have applied for the new top-level domain names are paying (in aggregate) more than $350 million in fees to acquire the names.
Google alone has applied for 101 Top Level Domain [TLD] names - some of which are "open," which means they can resell them to businesses and consumers.
Microsoft has applied for eleven TLD names as closed systems. Amazon applied for 76 TLDs, each one a closed system to support their company and affiliates. "We expect Amazon to create an affiliate system," said Ms Wolfe.
TLDs will become ZIP codes or category regulators. Search engines will begin to weigh the TLD name as a category, and .com will become diluted in search results - less valuable.
According to Wolfe. "We will see some of those big social media companies like Facebook that didn't apply jump in during the next round."
Read the original unabridged MediaPost article.