Who?.com

You’re probably among the 90 percent of people who’ve tried registering a domain name and been rejected. That’s a catastrophe if the name you tried to register was your brand name. The value of dotcoms has inflated in the wake of the panic this dilemma has caused, with domain name prices now in the million-dollar class.

So, will prices keep inflating? And what is the trend? Will dotcom disappear, to be replaced with a more flexible domain structure?

To answer the first question: This is only the beginning. The value of dotcom domain names like “realestate” or “land” will never decrease. My advice is, even if the price is outrageous, buy the domain name now. The price will have doubled next year.

So, will dotcom disappear, making way for a more flexible structure? Yes and no. New structures are already appearing. And, as society embraces the Internet, “.com” will disappear.

Not from addresses, but from the way they’re vociferated. Dotcom, like “www,” has become such a familiar element in addresses that we no longer have to say it. We are lazy, stressed and keen to abbreviate everything possible, including web addresses.

This leads us to the main domain-name problem: We now assume that every address ends in dotcom, especially if we live in the States! This is fortunate for companies with addresses which accurately indicate their identity. Not so lucky for the majority without.

For this reason, over the next five years, we probably won’t see a major change in the existing domain structure. The high profile, recognizable domain names will not be challenged. Nobody would dare to use them a serious Catch-22 which someone will have to break.

But how? Would “.net” or “.org” be alternatives? I bet you wouldn’t suggest www.fosters.net if I asked you about the Fosters beer address. The problem is, however, that there are several “fosters” in cyberspace, all needing an address.

So what is the second best choice? There isn’t one, apart from creating a new name. You can place “e” or “my” or something else in front of your brand name to secure an address. But does this help? I wouldn’t be able to guess your address. This would mean that you’d have to promote the new name as heavily as your existing bricks-and-mortar name.

Assuming that the Internet grows as rapidly as all trends indicate, three years from now, you would have to be promoting two brands on two budgets! Unless you decide to change your bricks-and-mortar name to your dotcom name, of course.

And that might be the case for many.

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