Project dormant till the end of the 1st application round at ICANN
The “.usa” concept
In the autumn of 2011 ICANN will introduce new generic Top-Level-Domains (gTLD’s, domain-suffixes) such as “.shop“, “.gay“, “.paris” or “.sport“. Domains like “www.shoe.shop“, “www.hotels.paris” or “www.football.sport” will become available: The domain-suffix will have a semantic value. However: Country names such as “USA” can not be applied for in this first round.
After the frist round ICANN intends to conduct many more rounds. The second round could start as early as 2012/2013. Depending on amendments of the rules of the first round there are signs that under certain circumstances an applicant being able representing the United States business, culture, education and sport community could rightfully apply for a TLD.
Worldwide each country has it’s own country code TLD (ccTLD), “.ca” = Canada, “.fr” = France. Unknown to a huge percentage of it’s own citizens, the Unites States operates the ccTLD “.us”. While you see almost only “.de” based domains in Germany or “.br” based domains in Brazil you hardly ever see any domain based on “.us” in the United States. Instead almost all domain names end in “.com” – a TLD with over 85 million registrations. It is very hard to find any sense making domain name based on “.com” and sharing this extension with all the rest of the world doesn’t makes it easier.
Out of historical reasons “.us” domains where not publicly available till 2002 – by which “.com” had already created a monopoly. Entering the market so late and having been liberated without any management “.us” faced a cruel fate: It was ignored by the general public but found itself in a quite deadly embracement by domain speculators: Almost all sense making domains have been land-grabbed by domain speculators. With no brand supporting beacon domains “.us” created almost no attention and awareness and remained “unseen”. As of today it seems close to impossible to correct the history and untangle the ties that hold “.us” down.
Hence the time is ripe for another TLD for the United States: “.usa”. Easily recognizable -and with just 3 characters very short- it is the ideal basis for any business or organization to showcast their efforts in the United States. Especially for city governments which will be granted their city name: boston.usa will be operated by Boston’s city government and hence contribute to the branding of “.usa”.
The DOC controls “.us” and inarguely failed to serve the public: The United States is the ONLY industrialized country grossly negligecting their own ccTLD. Americas identity on the Internet is in bad shape.
The private sector should be given a chance to launch another national TLD; this time managed by a legal entity consisting of organizations and associations representing the people of the United States. The governments solution seems not to attract the general public. The general public should hence be given the chance to privately reorganize Americas online identity. Maybe TLD’s should be subject to the private sector? In many countries they are. In Germany for example the government has absolutely no saying in the whereabouts of .de, and .de ist the largest ccTLD in the world. Why is .de the most successful ccTLD? Because it’s privately organized.
“.usa” domains will be open for usage to anyone: Businesses, individuals, organizations and of course for the local governments. Whether it’s “www.google.usa“ for searches limited to the United States, “www.vw.usa“ for Volkswagen of America, “www.chicago.usa“ for the great great city at the lakes or simply “www.tommccarthy.usa“ for a local realtor business in Texas: A new, unspoiled land on the Internet: “For Americans Only”!