Contributed by: Annalisa Roger, Vice-chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Internet Society
Dot-NXT Highlights What’s Next for the Internet
San Francisco, CA – The energy was palpable and the discussion was vibrant at the Dot-NXT Conference Feb 8 – 10, hosted by The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of The Internet Society and managed by chapter member Kieren McCarthy with chapter member volunteers. The room was filled with Domain Name industry CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors and others all interested in participating in the biggest change of the expanding Internet that the world has yet to witness. The conference was a success as it facilitated a rich discussion between industry professionals and global stakeholders, who interacted directly with the audience of almost 200 in a lively discussion. The exchange created an understanding of many potential benefits as well as challenges for these new gTLDs. There was a focus in several sessions on how to create the best application for a new gTLD, how to optimize the launching and the importance of insuring that the true and maximum benefits to a community are realized from the TLD launch through running the domain into the future.
Dot-NXT, the first conference of its kind, was about the remarkable change that will soon cause Internet users around the world to take a new look at TLDs. For starters, the world will begin “seeing” Top Level Domains. This is for two reasons: first, Top Level Domains are taking on a new and public face beyond their technical function. They will be recognizable markers for brands, communities, geographic locations, lifestyles, industries, causes and unlimited other interests. Second, new Top Level Domains are expected to arrive in droves on the Internet as early as 2012 and 2013.
The opening session was crowded as attendees listened to Kurt Pritz, Sr. Vice President for Stakeholder Relations of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Pritz, who leads ICANN’s implementation of the new gTLD program, describes the new TLD opportunity and application process as available to anyone interested in putting in an application to ICANN. Some think of the new TLD opportunity as a land rush of cyber real-estate with a price tag of $185,000. Experts caution it will not be easy to make it through the complex and lengthy evaluation created by the multi-stakeholder process at ICANN. Applications include proof and detail of robust technical qualifications and ability, background checks, business model evaluations, and proposed policies and governance over the name space as well as financial viability including insurance to maintain operability for 3-5 years in the form of cash reserves or a letter of credit. And the all-important component: support from the community the applicant proposes to serve. Alternatively, affected communities may file objections to applications.
Industry experts shared their knowledge openly with specific tips and suggestions for launching new gTLDs. All the services and expertise needed by a gTLD applicant could have been hired in this one conference room. These experts, found here at this address: http://dot-nxt.com/speakers-by-session covered Marketing, Policy – application rules, how and when to apply; Implementation – working with registrars and running a registry; Back to the Future; New Extensions – new opportunity; Reality Check and more. Networking began at the cocktail party February 8, and active participants discussed and made deals with industry service providers at the small tables provided outside the session rooms throughout the next two days.
Juan Diego Calle, the ambitious and inspiring founder and CEO of .CO Internet S.A.S., the registry operator for the .CO Top Level Domain, was a highlight of the conference. He replayed the recent Superbowl ad featuring Joan Rivers for .CO and the popular “O.co” commercial, the new and hip identity for Overstock.com. Calle delivered a road map to his path of success with the .co domain, a re-delegation of Colombia’s country code TLD. Under Juan’s leadership, .CO was launched internationally in July of 2010, and has quickly become one of the most successful domain registry launches in history, with more than 700,000 domain names registered by people and companies in 200 countries worldwide.
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