Jul. 30, 2011 - A Game-changing Opportunity for MLS Survival
A July 29 article in E-Commerce Times addressed some issues that have been on a lot of minds since the MLS Domains Association announced its intention of seeking a top level domain (.MLS) which will be used only by certified MLS organizations (imitators and MLS wannabes need not apply!)
The question being asked by MLSs is, “Will new domain names really work? Everybody knows .com, .gov, and .org—the existing top level domains. The consumer will never understand this stuff.” And the unspoken conclusion is, “So let’s not join this movement right now. Let’s wait and see.”
The E-Commerce Times begs to differ with that attitude. . “The gTLDs (new top level domains) are not just about trademark filing and battle posturing or cybersquatting. They are about the potential to create unusual global intellectual properties offering multiple opportunities for rapid image expansion and -- most importantly -- the achievement of market domination via name identity.”
That’s pretty heady global thinking from experts on this topic. The Times goes on to say that the ICANN’s new domain name program is about “massive customer acquisition and the creation of intricate layers of customer access.”
Translate the rhetoric of this article into layman’s terms: “Yes, internet users will respond to ICANN’s far-reaching relabeling of information and products. And if you participate, you’ll find seismic new ways to reach your audience and draw them into your world.”
However, the Times article cautions, not everyone will successfully navigate the complicated process that goes with obtaining a TLD. To begin with, there’s the money. The application fee per name starts at US$185,000, and each new name can cost up to $500,000 to integrate. The Times observes: “This investment is no more than the price of large single-highway signage over a 10-year lease. However, it permits thousands of such luminous cyberstructures over high-density information highways.”
Done correctly, the article says, a TLD offers the fastest way to create hypervisibility and global presence, and a game-changing opportunity to depart from traditional marketing and branding.
In the US, the MLS Domains Association is working hard to spearhead the TLD effort in the world of real estate sales. Association chairman Bob Bemis says, “We know that consumers recognize the term “MLS” as a source of accurate and reliable information. We want to capitalize on our name recognition and protect it from the many imitators who use the reputation of ‘MLS’ to draw traffic to websites that are neither owned by nor operated by MLSs. Only recognized MLSs will be able to use the top level domain administered by the MLS Domains Association.”
The MLS Domains Association is a non-profit corporation founded by some of the largest MLSs in the US. Over the past two years the members have been actively soliciting new members and building start-up funds. The Association has formed bylaws and operating policies, commissioned legal infrastructure work, and studied the massive ICANN policies. “We’re confident in the work we’ve done,” said Bemis. “We’re finalizing our contracts with our funding partners now, and we’ll be ready to make our application in early 2012, when ICANN opens up the process.”
In my last two blog entries, I've mentioned the importance of having an MLS which can act decisively and knowledgeably, if in fact the MLS organization is to survive and serve our members and their customers. One of the AEs who contributed insight to my last blog specifically mentioned this opportunity of supporting the MLS top level domain program. You'll find a list of organizations which have joined the MLS Domains association as well as the domain names they've already reserved. Visit the association website: if your MLS isn't there, now is the time to act!
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Saturday, July 30, 2011
A Game-changing Opportunity for MLS Survival : Off Stage