Background .ME Domain Names
Currently .COM is the global default for the most desirable gTLD domain name. (gTLD = generic top-level domain name.) In June 2008, ICANN approved the relaxation of the rules for the introduction of new gTLDs, allowing companies to register their own brands/names as gTLDs.
For instance, Microsoft can apply to have a TLD such as '.msn' (www.microsoft.msn). These new rules allow any global public or private entity to register any string of letters as a gTLD, which will result in thousands of global high profile entities registering and using their brand as a highly leveraged gTLD in the next 2 years. This revolutionary shift in conventional domain name policy will result in the dominance of the .COM gTLD being quickly eroded as the new gTLD policy takes effect.
Riding on this shift away from .COM dominance will be the new country code TLD (ccTLD) for the Montenegro domain extension .ME, released in July 2008. The new .ME extension is extremely memorable and for the first time in internet history provides easy-to-remember, verb orientated, tightly targeted action phrases that are both the actual domain name AND distinctive branding tags. .ME has the potential to create a completely new marketing paradigm for web-sites and domain names, with verbs, adverbs and adjectives providing a key role in identifying online products and services and marketing them directly to the consumer.
As an example of the importance placed on the new .ME brand space, Apple Computer Inc. has just launched its new me.com marketing platform, and has registered Apple products as ipod.me, itunes.me etc to ride on the back of the emerging 18-30+ "Look at ME" generation.
In conjunction with these changes, the use of SMS "text speak" in domain names has now also become very common and increasingly so across all age demographics. The use of the figure "4" replacing the word "for" and the figure "2" replacing the word "to" are probably the two most common examples, and used with the new verb orientated .ME domain name create a powerful & memorable domain name and brand.
From an online user demographic perspective, the new ME population demographic is "morphing" into the existing i-generation demographic, whom are generally classified as the opinion leaders and early adopters of today - people who have grown up with the internet and digital technology and for whom "online" is both ubiquitous and plays a leading role in shaping their opinions, aspirations, personal relationships and professional lives. They are young, affluent, digitally driven, and extremely brand aware. In 2007, 61% of UK homes had access to the internet, an increase of 25% in the last five years and increasing every day.
.ME will change the way we use domain names - forever.