ICANN’s (former) chairman and (soon-to-be former) CEO have stated that the new gTLDs will spur innovation.

Well, here’s hoping. Twitter created one of the most important information tools in history based on sleepy old texting. So why can’t we hope that someone will create something useful and exciting on top of the DNS.


The important Internet information tools – Google, Facebook, Twitter – these are applications built on top of public platforms. The founders didn’t have to ask anyone for permission, didn’t have to pay rent for use of the platform, didn’t have to submit their plans to public comment – didn’t have to ask anyone what they thought, other than the Market.

In contrast, here the gTLD entrepreneur is going to fill out a lengthy application, be subject to an examination process to determine that it’s in compliance with ‘consensus policies,’ be subject to third party comment – and if the new venture wants to make a mid-course correction, it can’t just ‘pivot’ (to use a hot buzz word), it has to apply to ICANN to change its plan. And, to start out in life, the gTLD entrepreneur will have to take $185,000 and burn it. And keep burning cash on ‘license fees.’

Look, the new gTLDs may be useful (in the sense that new developments in advertising are useful), and maybe we’ll be lucky and get something like a Google or a Twitter out of it, but let’s not kid ourselves as to whether this is about fostering innovation.