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ICANN and the Future of Online Real Estate

By Phil Butler | August 2, 2011

Much of our news and editorial here at RealtyBizNews deals with the web, and how real estate businesses are engaging the Internet. Recent news from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names (ICANN), may impact the way we all do business on the world wide web, and especially Brokers. Dot Branding is a term real estate brokers and investors need to learn, or ask their attorneys about.

Big business gets more leverage

The little real estate guy gets mashed - courtesy © olly -

Like so many other traditional business niches, real estate has lagged a bit in adopting proper strategies for utilizing the so called "conversation" - engaging in a two way dialogue digitally. And now ICANN will effectively change the game again. The gist? Soon your company will be able to park a domain out there branded like never before. Instead of a dot com, or dot net, even a dor biz domain suffix, many businesses will register domains like dot coke, dot pepsi, dot apple, and so on. As you can see, the leveraged position and brand protection here is enormous.

The New Shape of the Internet - Are You In or Out?

Think of companies that are constantly trying to protect their brands. Say Bank of America, for instance. Charlatans can claim they are part of the BA network, the bank has to buy and protect a myriad of web domains, etc. - but now the dot bank domain would make them exclusive, would it not? And here is where the situation for even the biggest real estate investment firms gets interesting. The exclusivity of these new Dot Brand names, or gTLDs as they are called,  will play a vital role in reshaping all aspects of web business.

Board Chair Peter Dengate Thrush

Board Chair Peter Dengate Thrush at ICANN Singapore - courtesy ICANN

Besides costing upwards of $200,000 dollars to register (you read that correctly) once huge corporations scrape up all the best names, little companies will be even farther down the SEO and SEM list as far as visibility is concerned. Without getting into hard core SEO language, let's just say the search engine will favor these highly relevant domains. A simplified way of thinking of this is imagining someone buy your last name - owning it, and then throwing the weight of all their business onto that name. Do you think anyone will ever see John Doe on an internet where dot doe is owned by Mitsubishi? But, there is a bit of hope, for some.

Let the Tax Man Pay

For the mid sized companies, companies whose tax liability is fairly high, say above $100,000 per year, there are some interesting solutions to this potential Dot Branding nightmare. For one, there are companies who specialize in the legal and organizational structure of Dot Branding worldwide. Secondly, there are arenas (systems) in which companies can offset the costs of the new ICANN initiative - or in other words, smaller companies can compete with Coke, Apple, Time Warner, Goldman Sachs, and the rest. An article on SearchEngineJournal yesterday revealed a couple of solutions.

Here, SEO and SEM expert Ann Smarty talks about deferring the high costs of branding with the best of them, so to speak. Beside the SEO dynamite, as she calls it, of these new ICANN rules, companies willing to relocate their IP (Intillectual properties) can gain sometimes massive tax incentives, and in so doing, negate the high costs ICANN will impose on registrants. It all sounds complicated, I know, and it is. However, a couple of companies she mentions, a Luxembourg company called VAYTON (below), and Dot Brand Solutions, specialize in helping businesses navigate the tricky waters of the new domains. And in the case of VAYTON, helping companies to "auto-finance" these domains is of particular interest.

Vayton Brand Capital website

Vayton Brand Capital, one specialization company for Dot Brands


Luxembourg has very forward thinking tax laws for companies who locate there. Not only traditional companies though, Internet presences too. These incentives can be as much as an 80 percent tax break - or $80,000 off of a typical $100,000 tax tab. You can see the logic here, I know. The Dot Brand for dot property cost $200,000 - said company saves $240,000 in three years, bill paid with change to spare.  A PDF white-paper via VAYTON illustrates more.

The long and short of doing business in Luxembourg is this, the country is very friendly toward incoming businesses where intellectual property is concerned - registered domains and their parent companies. In fact, across Europe, countries like Finland are offering huge incentives for companies to do business there. While in Finland, the incentives are Research & Development (European commission report) ones, Luxembooug is reaching out to the world wide web and other niches.

Luxembourg - European banking hub

Luxembourg, a European banking hub - © Yvann K -


What does this news mean for the real estate broker in Topeka? Well, one thing I can think of is they had better ramp up their social media marketing effort, SEO won't do them a bit of good in 4 years. As for investors, large brokers, the commercial entities worldwide? Clearly for some, Luxembourg may represent a life boat for their brands. When dot realty, dot houses, dot home goes, many will start feeling the push. That is, those who understand digital as the next marketplace for property on Earth.

We encourage the reader to learn more about these new ICANN rules, and also about how tax laws can afford some dynamic business leverage. Thinking about 21st Century business, will surely save some from going extinct. Visit VAYTON,  the ICANN blog, Dot Brand Solutions, or Neustar for more information about Dot Branding and the ICANN to come. We leave the reader with the most recent video from ICANN on this subject.

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.
  • 2 comments on “ICANN and the Future of Online Real Estate”

    1. Would ICANN be the 1st one to get an .ICANN domain for themselves... This seems another bit of generating more revenues for themselves

    2. But what does the future really hold for these gTLD "investments"?

      Especially as ICANN won't allow applications from any individual or sole proprietorship, effectively ignoring the interests and needs of the vast majority of Internet users worldwide. Add to the equation non-refundable deposits of $185,000 PER extension, $500,000 for "integration" plus potentially unlimited annual costs and expenses etc, and how many new gTLDs will actually see the light of day? Is this a commercial venture or simply a loss making exercise in vanity?

      ICANN’s main aim has always been to convince Internet users that they're the only game in town and then try to herd everyone into a tiny part of an otherwise infinite universe. In this respect, ICANN has been quite successful. However, it's rather like telling people that the only place they can shop on the entire planet is the “convenient” Kroger’s in Cincinnati (not that one, the other one) and that there isn’t anywhere else to go. Yes, the current ICANN Internet set-up may be “convenient” right now, but then some years ago sending a telegram was convenient and sending an email meant inventing the computer (and the World Wide Web). So whether or not ICANN’s new gTLD program seems like a good idea, it’s worth considering if instead of bringing organisations to the forefront, ICANN gTLDs may have the reverse effect by putting you in cold isolation. It’s also worth considering that the Internet is evolving and more fitting and less expensive options are beginning to come on-stream.

      More and more ICANN finds itself under pressure to modify. The rules have changed and Alternatives are already available (eg: as well as Dotcoms, there are now Dashcoms). As ICANN realises that competition is finally at hand, the true value (or rather, the true cost) of these hyped-up ICANN gTLD "opportunities" will become all too apparent. Still, look on the bright side as the "House" always wins. Yes, at least ICANN and their associates will have made a lot of money from your efforts.

      Disclaimer: Author provides dashcom (not dotcom) domain names.

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