And because there are too few opportunities for lawyers to put on their hotpants and strut down the boulevard giving their sexy come hither look, ICANN came up with two new “general top level domain” names for your marketing pleasure.
Apparently, rumors that dot sleazebag would also become available were greatly exaggerated. The new GTLD names became available yesterday, forcing guys like me to buy up our names so that someone else didn’t. Yes, I purchased scottgreenfield.lawyer and scottgreenfield.attorney. They forward to my old website, simplejustice.us, which makes them a total waste of money. But the alternative was to have Jamison Koehler buy them for his, ahem, massage services. The tummy rub problem loomed large.
For those lawyers who were slow on the uptake and missed the opportunity to buy urls for their name, this is a second chance at establishing an internet existence. There’s nothing wrong with that. These new GTLD names are regulated, meaning that you are supposed to actually be a lawyer to get to use dot lawyer or dot attorney urls. Whether that proves accurate has yet to be seen. It doesn’t seem too hard to game, and I would shocked if it turns out that the use of these urls is actually limited to lawyers.
But as Carolyn Elefant notes, this opens up the interwebz to entirely new opportunities to scam the public:
That’s right, by tonight, the web will be littered with declarative URLs like CallMy.Lawyer or WorldsBest.Attorney or more banal but descriptive ones like NewYorkCityPersonalInjury.Lawyer.
While those who pooh-pooh the notion that lawyers could ever do anything unethical (usually because they fail to conceive of anything lawyers do as being unethical), the regulatory limits on buying these GTLD names will preclude such underhanded, sleazy, slimy, disgraceful urls from happening. Because no lawyer would possibly decide to be entrepreneurial-ish, use his ticket to start a lead-gen business or worse, and buy up such urls. Just as they would never buy pay-per-click keywords on Google, or hire publicists to make them appear important, or any number of backlink scams from the bowels of Bangalore.
If I wasn’t so frugal, I could have bought up another dozen urls just to cover all my potential bases. Of course, this wasn’t the point of ICANN opening up new GTLD names, so that those of us already on the net could lock up all variations of our names before anyone else could get them, but that’s how us web savvy roll. A waste of money and space, but the alternative sucks too.
As for those who will somehow find a way to abuse the new opportunity to create new ways to scam the public, they aren’t going away and they are resourceful. They will find a way. It may not be overnight, but it will happen. It always does.
And for those who aren’t paying attention to such things as new GTLD names, chances are you will miss the boat again. You snooze, you lose.