New ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domains) for .me: Domain registrar and Web hosting provider Go Daddy (godaddy.com) announced on Friday that it has been selected by the government of Montenegro as one of the three members in a joint venture that will be operating the new domain extension, .me. Go Daddy says interested customers will be able to register for the new domain extension for personal or business use later this year. This continues the trend of small countries finding ways to monetize country code domain extensions. Instead of using the 2 digit extension .me to indicate country of origin, anyone can use the extension for any lawful (an perhaps unlawful) purpose. Two digit domain extensions for countries are provided for under ISO 3166 is the International Standard for country codes and contemplated by RFC 1591, Domain Name System Structure and Delegation, March 1994.
Sunrise Registration Period? GoDaddy has not indicated thus far whether Sunrise Registration Period
for trademark holders (allowing trademark holders exclusive rights to register their UDRP and ACPA protected .me domains before opening registration up to the general public).
New Cybersquatting Threat: Of course, every new domain extension brings its market opportunities
for companies with established trademarks, generic domain registrants (lawful domain monetization) and unfortunately cybersquatters as well. Defensive domain protection continues to become more important as
domain names and web traffic continue to see market forces driving value upward. But now ever company with brands and trademarks will need to ensure that they register all of their marks and .com domain
names with the new extension .me. This is what Cameroon did when it sold all its .cm extensions (a typo of anything .com) to the man who owns the internet, Kevin Hamm, and massive typosquatting ensued as reported here. In the instance of Cameroon's extension .cm, Kevin Hamm had an angle to help insulate him from trademark claims. He allowed the country of Cameroon as the registry to control the domain registrations. Registrars and registries argue that they are immune form liability, and certainly appear to be immune under the UDRP.
In this instance, the country of Montenegro will not act as registrar and preclude registration. GoDaddy will allow anyone to register domains so there will be no inulation from liability. Go Daddy, along with Afilias Global Registry Services and Me-Net, have created a new organization called doMEn, the word for domain in Montenegrin, which will act as the operational body with strategic oversight for the domain extension.
"We're excited about the phenomenal potential of .me and our ability to market it to you, all Web users, as well as other registrars - and of course we'll promote it in true GoDaddy-esque style," says Go Daddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons. "Couple .me with our first-in-class customer support and the registry systems of Afilias and the possibilities are unlimited. We offer the complete package to catapult .me into the international mainstream."