The Internet is changing and it could be huge for Massachusetts businesses just getting their start.
Most Americans are used to typing “.com” at the end of a website, such as this one, to get to where they are trying to go. Sometimes, it’s “.net,” “.org” or a variation, but the majority are “.com.” But new changes will require companies to bid on other generic top-level domains that could change the way people browse the Internet, by creating domains such as .pepsi, .walmart or .car.
This is big news for Massachusetts small businesses that are just getting their start or those who are already established and want to develop a better online presence. Our Boston small business lawyers would encourage any small business owner to do research on this topic in order to continue strengthening their company’s position in an increasingly digital world.
This is especially true with companies that have similar names to other businesses or use a common name, such as Smith or John in their company name, because branding is so critically important to a company setting itself apart from others.
Starting in January, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit group that manages the Internet, is opening the bidding for new top level domains. The organization will accept applications from any business and personal site that wishes to create a new domain.
At this point, a lot is unknown. For one, experts believe it will cost millions of dollars to obtain, run and publicize a new domain name. Second, it’s unclear if users will be willing to forgo the popular .com to look for other domain names. Some may succeed, while others may be difficult to find.
It will take a lot of advertising dollars to make these new sites work and, inevitably, many will fail. Some companies will be forced into buying a domain name simply as a defensive measure. There are many people who make money off of registering potentially popular web sites and then selling them at the opportune time.
Some companies, analysts believe, will register sites in order to make a profit later on. Larger corporations may be enticed to purchase these domains as a defensive measure, to protect their image and company name.
Most believe that the cost of registering a new domain will be prohibitive to scammers who are trying to make a quick dollar. And the non-profit group has also set up a trademark clearinghouse that allows trademark owners to register their marks so that others can’t steal them. In registering the trademark, the clearinghouse will be cross-checked.
While it may be costly, small businesses should consider this change and determine if it is something to consider. Having a strong Internet presence is important and in many cases can make or break a company. In forming a small business, consult with a Boston small business law firm can provide your enterprise with a strong legal foundation and sure legal footing for the future.
A Boston business law firm, The Brown Law Firm, LLC, has offices in Belmont and Boston. For a free and confidential consultation, call Attorney Graeme Brown at 617-489-0817 or contact us through this website.
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