Knowing Thy Enemy, Knowing Thy Friend
Throughout history, from Rome to Lehman Brothers, countless examples lay as testaments to the destructive power of uncontrolled expansion. And even though historians, as well as, executives have studied the hows and whys of such cases, it seems the lessons to be learnt are often overshadowed by the allure of power, profit and growth.
As ICANN is on the precipice of opening the floodgates on new gTLDs, I will be writing a series of short personal business cases, which I believe should be considered in the vetting process.
Lesson 1: Who is Friend and Who is Foe:
According to Sun Tzu (Art of War), developing good information sources (intelligence) is essential to victory. Though in business this lesson is often applied to knowing your competitors and using the information against them, I often apply this same discipline to knowing your market (your target) and knowing what the market wants. In the context of war, this is equivalent to knowing, which towns would welcome and aid you (friendlies) verses those that would not (foes).
So with the new gTLDs, which ones are walking amongst friendlies or foes? Meaning, which ones have strong business intelligence to back up their claims? The answer is simple, no one knows and my suspicion is that the applicants themselves don't know either. I believe this to be true since virtually none of the contenting websites have any information on market and business intelligence at all. If they did, the data would be front and center as it serves to only strengthen their overall application.
Without market and end user metrics these new gTLDs applicants are walking into the game completely blind. Compare this with a company like Macdonald's, which is famous for its business intelligence. Before a brick is even laid for a new store, Macdonald's own business intelligence assures them of 100% success. Macdonald's not only knows where the friendlies are, they also know which friendlies would eat the most number of cheeseburgers!
I would love to see all gTLD applicants provide more market and end-user research. If a new gTLD has the numbers to backup their application, I would be more than happy to give my full support.