Friday, September 16, 2011

Gambia Domains: : .GM Gambia's Domain for General Managers

The Gambia is one of the smallest countries in Africa with an eccentric President who cures AIDS but it has a golden ccTLD domain whose value is yet to be realized. The Gambia is also probably the only country in Africa whose name starts with "The". But if there's one unamused company that will not be applying for new top level domains with ICANN next year, it will be General Motors.


Says CentralNIC's Joe Alagna "An interesting (hypothetical) example could be GM.  General Motors is not going to be able to get GM.COM (that is assuming they want a new TLD and they have not publicly indicated that they do; I’m just using this as an example).  .GM is already allocated to the country of Gambia.  Now that doesn’t mean GM can’t pay the government of Gambia to let them use .GM.  Many ccTLDs are already being used for reasons different than their original intent because of agreements with governments (e.g. .tv, .fm, .me…).  Since GM’s gross revenues are 30 times that of Gambia’s GDP, it would seem that they could to cut a deal if both parties wanted to. Who knows?  Maybe it would be cheaper for them that way :-) . But GM is not getting .GM any other way.

On top of the stated problem, new TLDs have to be at least 3 letters in length.  (Note: The longest they can be is 63 characters and they cannot include numbers). So maybe they can get .GMC?
Even that could be problematic since it is very close to .GM.  Only time will tell how these things will go.  For a while, a company that contracted with ICANN had a TLD string analyzer online where they claimed you could get some idea of how close two strings of characters were and if they were too close to be considered using an algorithm they developed.  Unfortunately, as of this writing, the web page hasn’t worked for several weeks and I’m not sure if it ever will.  This was the address.  Hopefully it will begin to work again soon: http://icann.sword-group.com/algorithm/Default.aspx"


 General Motors owns gm.com but what about cars.gm greencars.gm chevrolet.gm buick.gm cadillac.gm sedan.gm hybrid.gm SUV.gm crossover.gm coupe.gm. Early in the year, GM won ChevroletFinancial.com through a UDRP but there are still golden domains out there, especially in the age of new top level domains when companies are obsessed with .brand. .GM is General Motors' .Brand. Maybe someone should repackage Gambia's cctld into a domain for General Motors? There is a precedent in this too: Laos domain .LA was  repackaged  and rebranded into domain names for Los Angeles by CentralNIC. In fact, lots of domain names, most if am not wrong, under .LA domain space are owned by business and people who live in or have interests in Los Angeles. Trouble is however brewing somewhere as Laos, am told, has partnered with Vietnam's VNNIC to reclaim .LA. Will watch this space.

Back to The Gambia, if General Motors is not interested in .GM domains, maybe some company should rebrand The Gambia's ccTLD into a domain for general managers or even gamblers. That is if someone will not be applying for .gambler in the upcoming ICANN applications. Oh, but there's .poker!

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