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If you have $185,000 laying around, you’ll be able to purchase your own top level domain name extension starting in 2013. ICANN will start accepting applications in January 2012.

While this looks like an opportunity for large corporations like ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, Facebook, et. al., I can see an opportunity here for small businesses as well.

Let’s say you sell televisions in Port Arthur, Texas. And suppose Magnavox and RCA both have been approved for owning their own TLDs. I can see these companies selling domain names to their dealers for a fee, which would allow consumers to find information quickly about the brand names as well as know at a quick glance where they can go to purchase these brands locally.

It’s also a way for corporations to be able to have more control over their brand’s image. If the company owns its own TLD and is aggressive in protecting trademarks, they could effectively shut down any website not on their own TLD simply through a court order.

Brands that truly want to control information about them online could have a blog, a forum, several information websites, and a load of other domains at their own top level domain extension. The big question would be, How will those TLDs be treated by search engine algorithms?

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