Friday, November 4, 2011

DotNairobi or Nairobi.com? Maybe Nairobi should go for Nairobi.com

The .com era was like the wild west, meaning anyone could register anything and make lots of cash of it. It's called the .com era because .com has proved to be most popular TLD; preferred by a class of internet users called "domainers" and almost every internet user!
Of course new era of innovation will soon begin but no one knows what awaits web users. Besides, 500 TLDs is so much to chew. One of the casualties of the .com era was nairobi.com, registered by one Minakumari Periasamy, a mysterious figure based in Malaysia who rarely responds to UDRPs. In the .com era, names like nairobi, kenya, burundi, egypt were not protected in the second level.So anyone could register them in the second level and pack them to generate thousands of dollars in PPC revenues. The early birds caught the worms, that's why nairobi.com is owned by someone probably from Malaysia. But Nairobi could win its names back if it understood the value of domain names and hired expert IP lawyers but this will be a costly undertaking.

But the potential for branding would be huge. The city could acquire nairobi.com and sell subdomains like cafe.nairobi.com chips.nairobi.com airlines.nairobi.com hotels.nairobi.com hilton.nairobi.com taxis.nairobi.com shoes.nairobi.com and so on for say $5 per sub domain. Likewise acquire nairobi.org and sell off subdomains to non profits. CentralNIC employs a similar business model.

Nairobi could  wait for dotAfrica and register nairobi.africa. Alternatively, Nairobi could go ahead with the same trusted a new gTLD process and apply for its own .nairobi for city TLD branding. But at the staggering cost of $185,000 and lengthy evaluation process by ICANN plus operational costs, maybe Nairobi.com is the cheaper and easier way out. Let them go after Minakumari Periasamy's a*$!

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