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.guru – really? New domains could be a nightmare

Monday sees the start of the release of nearly a thousand new domain names that will add to the confusion that is a URL. In the UK you had a .co.uk or a .com domain, with a few notable exceptions. We’ve also had odd domains such as .TV (actually designed to represent Tuvalu, a small Pacific island where the domain name represents about 10% of the economy) and some of the .LY versions (Libya, actually) that used used for short domains.

Starting Monday, this is all going to get a lot more confusing with the additions of .guru, .photography, .tips, .today and my favourite, .shoes

The problem is that in the next 2 years it’s estimated that almost half of the world’s population will be online yet half of the websites use the .com domain. It’s getting as hard to get a useful .com domain name as it is to get a memorable Google Mail account.

The opening of the flood gates will generate hundreds of millions in fees for the domain registrars and a couple of years of confusion on searches and with URLS. This might be useful if it was really an exercise in democratising domain names, except it isn’t.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 09.43.24If you have the money, you can jump the queue – spending up to a staggering £8,000 to pre-register your domain name (see pic).

It will become an auction, with the big boys grabbing most of the land, not too many smaller agencies will deem spending £30k+ on a handful of domain names as either good value or a good idea. Some companies, such as Go Daddy are offering these pre-registration packages but the general advice is to tread carefully.

Whilst you’d imagine shelling out £8k would guarantee your domain name there are still a lot of phases still to go through including a trademark sunrise and early auction. Pre-registering a domain name at this early point may actually reveal valuable information that could be damaging as it’s gets held back for ransom.

This is not to say it’s not worth participating, maybe use a domain name watchlist service instead. Either, expect a lot of scamming and spamming in the run-up to domain name release and a fair few companies being taken for a ride.

By Penny Driscoll