Clouds, Crowds and Brand Reality Creative: distributed creativity and information, collaborative tools and ideas.
Evolutions of unseen, underlying technologies can often have the most fundamental long-term effects in the world of interactive and digital marketing. Seemingly unglamorous or technically obtuse changes can lead to an explosion in the possibilities of creativity and communications. If the adoption of AJAX signaled and spawned the web 2.0 boom in social networking and media – a phenomenon that has now become an accepted default state for any marketing or net experience – then perhaps the new form of a familiar fundamental points to the next great leap.
In June 2008 Icann President Paul Twomey announced “the biggest change to the way people find each other on the internet since its inception”. Behind this hyperbole is the news that from early 2009 Icann is throwing open the way that top-level domain (‘TLD’) names are administered and created. Apart from .com, .co.uk and the other familiar suffixes, people will be able to acquire .car, .insurance, .love and .hate. Names, concepts, generic words and even brands will be a new organising principle on the net.
At first only certain companies and government organisations get a stab at this potential new gold-rush, in a bid to protect intellectual property and prevent a resurgence in cyber-squatting. Indeed, some names are expected to cost in the region of £250,000. However, it is not this initial iteration that is the most potentially transforming to the way marketing and communication exists in interactive and digital spaces.
Some people fear that the list of TLD names will become endless and the net will become chaotic and disorganised. Actually, this is the barrier that we need to push through. The feared scenario in fact offers the most interesting signpost for the future.
The great potential is that the new domain system will ultimately lead to the development of addresses for information itself, rather than the current model of faux places filled with information. The potential is that it is one of the first steps to the birth of the semantic web.