Note: Updated with comments from Peter Weddle.
The company managing the .JOBS Internet domain has applied for seven new Internet extensions, including .CAREER.
Employ Media owner Second Generation didn’t detail how it specifically intends to use the new name. The application said the purpose of .CAREER “is to promote competition and consumer choice in the namespace, and to further provide marketing opportunities and domain names for registrants to promote and provide career, job, human resources and employment-related information.”
The domain is part of the nearly 2,000 applications the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers revealed last week, after deciding to broadly expand the number of Internet extensions — the .com, .org, .jobs, etc. — used in connection with website names.
Many companies applied for extenisons in their own name including Clinique, IBM, Hyatt, and Shell. In addition to .CAREER, Second Generation applied for .MED, .CASINO, .HOT, .REALTOR, .REALESTATE, and .HOME.
The $185,000-per-name process resulted in several duplicates or names so similar they may as well be duplicates. That’s the case for the .CAREER name. A second company, Dozen Donuts, applied for .CAREERS, among the 307 applications it submitted.
Daniel Schindler, EVP of Dozen Donuts, said it will be “up to the parties” to resolve the name similarities, since, he said, ICANN “definitely will not allow both” names to be issued. Such discussions haven’t been initiated, but he expects they will.
“The economically savvy,” Schindler said, will try to negotiate a solution, since otherwise ICANN will auction off the domain to the highest bidder with the loser getting nothing.
Second Generation is a family owned investment firm. Tom Embrescia, a veteran of the radio and TV broadcast industry, is chairman. Neither he nor Ray Fassett, a founder and current EVP with Employ Media, responded to my email asking for details about the .CAREER application.
Regardless of who winds up with the rights to .CAREER or .CAREERS, the bigger question is, will anyone care?
Forrester Research analyst Jeff Ernst told ComputerWorld that some of the names being requested will have innovative business plans behind them. Others, however, won’t find many takers.
“They’ll probably have the same rate of success as any new business venture will,” he said. “A certain number will fail because they misread the market, or didn’t get enough support.”
Schindler insisted that Dozens Donuts would not have made its $56.8 million investment if it didn’t expect to profit. “I don’t know of one (domain) that doesn’t make money,” he said. Even with a .JOBS extension, there is room for another, he said.
Ernst told ComputerWorld much the same thing, saying new domains “just have to have enough of an annuity stream from a niche community around that term.”
Those to whom ICANN awards a domain name can sell an address with that extension to others, which, even with only a relatively small number (compared to .com) can add up. Employ Media wholesales the right to use the .JOBS extension to several registrars who resell it for as much as $140 a year.
Peter Weddle, executive director of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, suspects it will be a challenge teaching users there’s more to the Word Wide Web than .com, .net, .org, and similar, long-time extensions. Whether a .CAREER or other, new, non-corporate extension will gain traction with users will depend, he says, on how aggressively it is promoted.
However, speaking on behalf of the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition, a group of organizations and commercial employment sites, Weddle said it’s opposed to granting Second Generation the right to market and sell any domain name.
The Coalition has taken the position, Weddle said, that any registrar, which is “in breach of its contract with ICANN should not be allowed any new domains.” ICANN served Employ Media a notice of breach more than a year ago. The matter is set for arbitration this fall.
“Whatever name they operate under, it’s the usual suspects,” he said of Employ Media and Second Generation. “On its face, their application should be rejected.”
The .JOBS domain was initially heralded as a simple way for job seekers to find corporate career sites, and have faith in their legitimacy. In apply for the domain, Employ Media and SHRM, its partner, said only employers with a human resource professional on staff, and which agreed to abide by a code of ethics would be granted an address with a .JOBS extension.
Since the 2005 approval, only several thousand addresses have been issued, with the number dwindling in the last few years. Meanwhile, Employ Media partnered with the DirectEmployers Association to launch thousands of job boards with occupational and geographic names.
After initially being shut down by ICANN, and following a SHRM review process, ICANN approved some changes to the awarding of the addresses. But in February 2011, it sent Employ Media a notice of breach of contract. The matter is now pending before an international arbitration panel. (Full details of the .JOBS saga are available here.)