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Matt: Hello and welcome back to Domain Law Radio. This is Matt Plessner and do you ever wonder what is in store for the future generation of the internet? Jennifer Wolfe, Managing Director of Wolfe Domain and Co-author of the book, “Domain Names Rewired” has some good ideas on this. We are, of course, pleased to have her with us today via Skype. Jennifer, thanks a lot for being with us today.
Jennifer: Thanks for having me. It is a pleasure.
Matt: Well, it is a pleasure to have you here, like I said. Now Jennifer could you start off by just kind of telling us a little bit about what you do and what your website is about?
Jennifer: Sure. So what I do is I consult with companies, largely right now very big brands, but also some smaller and emerging companies in understanding how the internet is about to change and how they should be developing their strategy.
Matt: Now, Jennifer, in one of your YouTube videos that I was looking at, you talked about top level domains. Let’s start off there. Can you tell us exactly what a top level domain is as opposed to a regular domain?
Jennifer: Sure! So right now, most people want to have their website and a dot-com. It tends to be the gold standard. Dot-com is actually what is referred to as a top level domain. Some other current top level domains include .gov, .edu, .biz or .info. There are actually only 23 top level domains right now in the World Wide Web. But what is about to happen and where the shift is coming in that in 2014 there will begin to be introduced new top level domains, and, in total, there will be 1,400 new top level domains that enter the root of the internet over the next 12 to 18 months. It is a truly scaled big bank expansion of the internet unlike anything we have ever seen since the internet began in the 1990’s. So it is a really big shift that is coming, and what is really interesting is that brands, companies have had the opportunity to apply for their own top level domain that they can use for their own purpose. So big banks like J.P. Morgan, P&C Bank, AmEx or VISA will be able to have their own top level domain that they control. So they can run an .AMEX or a .JPMorgan, and what is most interesting is that half of the world’s top level brands have applied to operate their own top level domains. What is also very interesting is Google applied for a 101 top level domains and Amazon applied for 76. So if you think about Google and Amazon as being, pretty much, the digital leaders of the world, we can see they have made pretty big investments here and have some substantial plans on how we may evolve from a world of dot-com to a world of dot-‘anything’.
Matt: And of course, we have talked about some of these top levels in the past. Definitely everybody go ahead and check out our previous interview about the gTLD Clearinghouse, which talks about kind of these new trends coming up and stuff like that. Now, while we are talking about trends, what are some of the trends, I guess you could call it, of the next generation of internet that has already begun to emerge besides these?
Jennifer: I think one of the big trends that you will see is that we really are going to evolve away from this thinking that dot-com is the gold standard that is what you want as a web address. The way most companies are developing their digital strategy, they don’t really think much about the domain name because, for the most part, com is completely saturated. Whatever your creative team comes up with, you are going to have to find some variation of it in order to have a domain name. So people haven’t really thought about domain names as being part of the campaign in terms of how they market and strategize. So we have seen Facebook as being really successful because people, companies I mean, build their strategies and their campaigns within Facebook, or they build them within their new mobile applications. So obviously, mobiles have been really hot. But what is about to happen is because there will (inaudible) suddenly be so many (inaudible) opportunities. So for example, there will be top level domains like .tennis, .golf, .flowers, .wedding, .style, .fashion, and .news, and literally 900 plus new top level domains will enter the space. So marketers are going to have an opportunity to be somewhat creative and build campaigns that are focused on landing pages, so where people might pick like a (inaudible) or something along those lines. Where now they can build a whole campaign around this landing page that is very mnemonic, very memorable (inaudible) imbedded into some (inaudible) deep in some home page, but that is actually just a short (inaudible), so that they can now integrate into what is happening in a social media platform and become a more holistic part of their strategy.
Matt: Now Jennifer, do you think that some of these changes and trends are going to affect other forms of media too?
Jennifer: Absolutely, and that is not directly tied to the gTLDs. I think the fact that there will be so many new options simply enhances the opportunity for the shifts in media to occur. I know this weekend in the Wall Street Journal there was an article about Amazon launching all of these (inaudible) instagrams we see all the time. Companies like Intel, Verizon, companies we never would have thought of as media companies, are starting to produce content and so when they produce that content, they need to have distribution channels. So if they are choosing not to go the typical route of being distributed through a Dish Network, a Direct TV, or a Time Warner, any of the cable companies, they are going to look at distributing through mobile and they are also going to look at these new top level domains as a potential distribution channel. So companies like Amazon, who has 76 top level domains, can use that as a way to distribute their content without having to go through a dot-com environment but in their own closed eco-system where they have a little bit more control.
Matt: And, of course, we want to encourage everybody to go check out WolfeDomain.com for some more information. It is a great website, so go and check that out. Jennifer, once again, I want to say thanks again for taking some time out of your incredibly busy schedule to talk to with our listeners today.
Jennifer: Thanks, it was great to be here.
Matt: I am Matt Plessner and join us next time on Domain Law Radio.
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