There is no question that the cost of technology has decreased dramatically over the years, especially if the average return on investment is taken into account. However we at C2 have always taken the stance that bargain technology isn’t always a bargain for a variety of reasons. As famously said by astronaut Alan Shephard, “It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.” Likewise, would you trust your business and security to something that was the cheapest on the market? Well, what about virtual things, Chris? Those aren’t the same as a charger you plug into your phone, or a tablet you use to check your email, right? Thanks to the expansion of top level domain names like “.top”, “.date” and “.xyz”, market competition has driven domain registration prices into the basement for the lesser known (and commercially used) TLDs, going for as cheap as $0.88 per domain. Security thinktank Talos has done the math and their research into cheap domain names bears out our philosophy: cost does correlate to quality and risk.
What this means for you:
In a nutshell, the Talos blog tells us what real estate agents already knew long ago: “Location, location, location.” In this case, because of how readily available and cheap certain top level domains have become, the security analysts behind this blog article figured there would be a correlation between cheap TLDs and malware distribution sites, i.e. cybercriminals would take advantage of the cheap domains for their attack and payload sites. As anyone with a lick of business sense knows, lowered costs equals increased profits, and as has been amply demonstrated by the large amounts of money at stake in cyberfraud, the folks behind the rising tide of profitable malware are no dummies. All this to say, just because a domain name is cheap and available does not make it a good buy, especially if the TLD is associated with pursuits irrelevant or at odds with your brand. As an (absurd) example, would it make sense for an accounting firm to register a “.party” domain? Unless they were looking to make a radical change in their market direction, this isn’t going make sense, regardless of how inexpensive it was. For the new TLDs it will be awhile before a new normal is established (if it ever will be). Their currently cheap prices are lowering the rent in that area, and its not a neighborhood you want to settle into, at least for the moment.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Late last year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that they were opening up registration for more top level domains on the internet. Starting next week, the familiar “.com”, “.edu” and the other 20 well-known TLD’s maybe joined by as many as 1900 new domains over the course of the next few years. Among the first that will be released for use will be “.book”, “.bike” and “.wed” as well as specific corporate domains for large companies like “.apple”, “.google” and “.ford”.
What this means for you:
If you already work for a company with a well-established and/or well-known domain, your marketing folks (and the lawyers) may explore the new TLD’s primarily to protect the company’s brand from competitors or domain squatters. They should know that as part of the introduction of more TLD’s, ICANN has also introduced a new trademark clearinghouse where infringement challenges can be handled before the legal knives come out. If you are in the process of establishing your online identity and have been under the impression that all the “good” domain names have been taken (for TLD’s like “.com” they have, for the most part), the new TLD’s may present an opportunity for certain businesses and creative marketers.
However some industry analysts are worried that the proliferation of TLD’s may just lead to more confusion and uncertainty on the internet for the majority of users. For example, once “.google” goes live, when I want to search for something, do I go to “google.com” or “search.google” or “www.google” or “google.google”. My guess, at least with Google, all of those will work, but imagine trying to tell your grandmother the difference between them (there might be!) or why there is more than one URL, especially after you finally got her to start using Google in the first place. It’s too soon to say, but given how confusing the internet is now, one thing it’s not likely to simplify will be internet security.
Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net