ICANN’s decision to expand the Internet to include new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), such as .Canon and .NYC, has been getting increased attention because applications are accepted beginning Jan. 12, 2012. Much of the discussion has, understandably, focused on whether a business or other organization ought to invest in a new gTLD. For some, this development presents terrific opportunities. Determining how best to take advantage of those opportunities calls for a solid offensive strategy. But too little has been said about the need for a defensive strategy, as well.
Even if applying for a new gTLD does not make sense for a particular organization, ignoring the gTLD application process would be a mistake. That process introduces new risks for every organization doing business on the Internet. Some of those risks come from potential infringements on intellectual property, but there are other risks too, such as unsupported competitive advantage.