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Facebook and Apps vs. Domains

This debate never got heated during the NewDomains.org conference in Munich last month. One might speculate that it was largely because most in the audience and on the panel, support and believe in the existence of both. There is no need to make a direct either/or comparison. What sets Facebook and Apps apart from existing popular Top-Level Domains (TLDs) is the concept of a closed environment in which users can interact with the technology and each other in a dedicated space.

These closed environments, inherent in Apps, Facebook, and shortly in many of the new TLDs, have the benefits of promoting the congregation of various ‘tribes’. Tribes is a great term being used nowadays in the context of social media to describe a group of people finding each other online to interact based on a theme—for example: angry customers of a website, current employees of a business (or ex-employees, which equally qualifies for the term), iPhone jail breaking, etc. This group comes together based on common ideas and interests. They cannot be forced together based on a direct marketing effort—which is potentially what makes sites like Facebook such a riddle for traditional corporate marketers—you can’t cordon off your target market as easily and expect them to engage in a dialogue. It’s these tribes, communities, or other like minded groups that will benefit from the new TLDs. They will, if all goes according to plan, find their online social homes, complete with likeminded friends, neighbors, and friendly adversaries, within one of the many new TLDs.

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