Every once in awhile major companies and organizations make waves with dumbfounding decisions that are wrought with clear consequences that cannot possibly benefit consumers, which in turn bring about irrevocable harm to the entity or entire industry. This week was an announcement blockbuster for said decisions.
Lets start with ICANN, which is the internet’s body for domain name management. This week they announced a plan that will allow for an unlimited number of top level domains(TLD). Previously there were a very select and organized set of TLD such as .com, .gov, .net, .org, etc. Now with $100,000-$500,000 and a “business plan” anyone can register a new TLD. This means big.problem, huge.mistake and dumb.move could all theoretically be new sites. It also makes it virtually impossible for companies to maintain some semblance of brand protection online (google.sux, google, sucks, google.reallysucks) and remembering or even finding Web sites will be a complete mess for consumers. Type google.ocm and you could now be going somewhere entirely new with browsers and search engines unable to assume you meant .com. Speaking of which, Jeff Jarvis thinks this decision could be good for one industry…search. This plan has been overwhelmingly panned and I just do not see how it will be a benefit, however it is possible we will need considerably more online real estate as our entire world continues to move online.
ICANN’s announcement was fun, but the RIAA really needs to look into stand up. On the heals of suing grandmas comes its epiphany that radio is actually a form of piracy. No, seriously. The RIAA contends that we should throw out decades of precedent where radio was considered a promotional vehicle, thus forcing radio to now pay both songwriters and musicians for each song they play(often different people, currently radio only pays songwriters for their work). Not to long ago (and still indirectly today) music labels were paying radio to play artists though payola. With emerging online music distribution, radios importance in getting artists heard has weakened and the RIAA believes now is the time to take advantage and bleed as much money from medium before it is completely irrelevant.
On one hand, this is baffling. On the other, I am not sure how much this will impact the public (at least the digitally connected ones). I have not listened to radio in months. Everything I listen to comes via iTunes whether its podcasts or music. Broadcast is on its way out in our on demand society. I am just simply surprised that the RIAA would not want to try and help its longest partner stay relevant while it attempts to lumber its way to the internet instead of hammer in the final nail.
And finally, just because I thought this was genius: