Your Company Sucks! The Dangers of New Top Level Domains

Nic Crowther
Mon 25 May

Today, the Wall Street Journal’s blog has an interesting piece regarding global companies protecting themselves against ‘.sucks’.

This is a new Top Level Domain (TLD) that is seen as almost a form of extortion for large organisations.. For those not particularly tech-savvy, a TLD is the last series of letters after the final ‘dot’ in your web address. Originally, it would have been limited to ‘.com’ or ‘.au’ but in recent years the whole scene has changed completely.

                                    

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the body that controls the descriptors used for the World Wide Web’s billions of addresses. A few years back, ICANN introduced .asia to the market, which was very well received (almost as well as .xxx!). Now, companies can apply for unique TLDs and act as retailer to other businesses with an interest in the subject.

You could, for example, register ‘.bikes’ and then approach Giant, Apollo, and Specialized and offer them their own space using your TLD.in such a scenario, www.giants.bikes could point to their global site, www.giant-bicycles.com.

There is no obligation for companies to follow this path, and it seems there is little incentive given the lack of visibility for these unique TLDs across the web. However, ‘.sucks’ seems to be an entirely different proposition, as companies move quickly to shore up their businesses against websites set up to intentionally damage their brand. It’s not difficult to imagine the fun some people could have with ‘holden.sucks' or ‘apple.sucks’.

So, is this a clever play by the register of the .sucks TLD, Vox Populi, or simply a grab for cash?

There’s more over at the WSJ, but it’s not difficult to see how quickly .sucks could provide a viral platform that quickly impacts on your brand.

Wall Street Journal