Business unprepared for internet liberalisation

World Wide Web

Companies are unprepared for the liberalisation of the internet due next year, according to a report.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is set to open up domain names. This means that instead of .com or .org, a company could use specific names such as .dell or .microsoft.

However a report conducted by The Future Laboratory on behalf of Gandi found two thirds of businesses were unaware of this upcoming change to the internet.

Dan Wilson, ecommerce consultant, said: "It takes web addresses away from geographies and creates a truly worldwide web. This has huge benefits for branding."

Although many had no idea of the upcoming changes, the response to them was positive. Of the 100 e-commerce managers from the high street and online surveyed, 81 per cent believed the move was "innovative", three quarters thought it would be "advantageous" and two thirds thought it would be "exciting" when launching an online campaign for a product or business.

The move seems to be coming at the right time as well with sixteen per cent of businesses claiming that their website name was "not ideal". This especially affected smaller businesses with 28 per cent saying they "settled for second best" with their choice of domain name.

John Berard, founder of communications consultancy, Credible Context, said: "See us at Diet dot Coke is a more powerful soundbyte compared to See us at Diet Coke dot com. The last word left with the listener is your product. The ramifications for further branding and entrenching a product are overwhelming."

There are concerns however that it will lead to "cybersquatters" cashing in on the opportunity to buy famous domain names and sell them off. There is also the risk of phishing attacks.

Wendy White, from Gandi, said: "This is an exciting change, but if liberalisation is to bring the benefits it promises, it needs to be handled carefully. Because as soon as the billboards, squatters and criminals move in, all the prime properties and interested web visitors will move out."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.