A ccTLD Goes Rogue:
May 23, 2010
Relaxing registration requirements for dot-co, Colombia’s country code top-level domain (ccTLD), is value destroying.
The dot-co is what I call a “rogue” TLD. Unlike a signaling TLD, which adds value by steering traffic based on its implied message, a rogue TLD captures traffic: that is, a mistyped dot-com lands Web users on a site where they don’t want to be. Such a TLD is value destroying because it forces the owners of a large number of brand names or high-value generic domain names to register their domain names under dot-co. Moreover, generic.co domain names increase parked Web sites, thereby creating more useless information for search engines and human users to sift through . Furthermore, it dilutes the signaling of Colombia-related domain names.
On the other hand, TLDs such as dot-com, dot-tel, and dot-me have strong signaling value propositions. For example, .com has practically no substitutes for signaling a global brand. TLDs that signal location include country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) and some proposed TLDs such as dot-NYC (which signals New York City). TLDs that signal a particular business strategy include dot-outlet and dot-green. The dot-tel has a strong use differentiation because it signals the brand owner’s alternative contact information, while dot-me is personal and reassuring, as opposed to the chilly dot-name, which is faceless.
Thus, TLDs fall into two categories: signaling TLDs and rogue TLDs. The latter are value destroying.
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