To say the least 2008 has been an interesting year, in the domain world, and well beyond.
Here are out predictions for 2009, in no particular order:
1. The Kentucky Domain Seizure Order Will Be Reversed By The Kentucky Court of Appeals.
The Governor of Kentucky’s action in seizing 141 gambling domain names was unconstitutional from the start, and we expect early next year, that the Kentucky Court of Appeals will reverse the ruling. On the other hand, if the appellate court affirms the decision you better get your domains to an offshore registrar, quickly.
2. The New Domain Extensions (gTLD’s) Will Get Pushed Back.
After hundreds of comments poured in, and with mounting opposition from Fortune 500 companies, the US Department of Commerce and well, many in the domain community, expect that this whole process to get pushed back.
You will not see any of these new extensions live in 2009.
3. Someone Will Do A Deal With Yahoo.
After failed deals with Microsoft in 2008, someone is bound to do a deal with Yahoo. They have too much traffic, too big a channel for someone be it Microsoft, Time Warner’s AOL, News Corp, or a new player to get something done.
4. There Will Be Less Domain Parking Companies At The End Of 2009.
There are currently over 10 domain parking companies that basically resell the services of one of two companies. With shrinking margins and direct deals available to anyone with a domain though Google, do we really need that many companies? Probably not. With the duplication of fixed costs like physical address rent, employees, hardware to name a few, consolidation is inventible and will occur in 2009. Combine or die will be realty for many parking companies in 2009.
5. Trademark Infringement Will Become Criminal.
We all know about the Snowe Bill. We all know about CADNA and there ever growing membership ranks of companies who have individually more revenue than the domain industry combined.
We can only expect CADNA will press the new Congress to get a law passed which will make conduct currently subject to only civil fines and penalty, criminal, making domaining subject to jail time.
6. More Good Domains Will Become Available.
As domain holder’s revenue decreases, the number of good drop domains and generally available domains will increase; the strong will get stronger and the bottom feeders (trademarked domains) will be overwhelmed in legal fees, and registration and renewal fees. It’s the Lion King’s circle of life applied to domains.
7. The Days of Accountability & Transparency Arrives.
2008 was a turning point. It was the year that blogs called out way that the big boys do business.
Closed doors, doing things for your own benefit to the determinate of others in the cloak of darkness; those days are done.
From Wall Street to Main Street, we will not pause one second to ponder whether the questions can be asked, whether the dominate players can be questioned and whether we can demand fairness and accountability.
Yes, Yes and Yes.
8. ICANN Will Make Some Rules For Registrars and Dropped Domains.
Through the process of revising the contracts between ICANN and the registrars and the new gTLDs, I think ICANN got the message that the current situation that allows each registrar to do whatever they want with their customers expired domains, doesn’t work. Look for a proposal next year for a uniform set of rules rather than the wild, wild west situation we have now.
9. Domain Names Will Continue To Grow in Value.
Week after week, month after month, a tremendous volume of domain sales are reported by Ron Jackson at the DNJournal.com.
We also find many domain sales that go unreported in the normal channels.
When 2008 is done and the numbers tallied, we will see that one of the few bright spots, in this lousy economy, continues to be domain names. This will not get by the mainstream media for long, and even if it does, there is an unstoppable march of business to the net, each one needing a good domain to do business under. Domains will continue to gain value to end users.
10. The US Will Agree to Give Up Control Of ICANN.
The contract with the US Department of Commerce is up for renewal in 2009.
I expect that in the negotiations of the new contract the US will agree to give up control of ICANN to an international body such as the UN, within a specified time, within the next 5 years.
Ok, I’ve showed you mine and now you can show me yours.
What are your top predictions for 2009 in the domaining world?