Is DOTtravel set to make ripples or waves?
Article date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 14:35 GMT45000 websites worldwide are feeling the pressure to buy a new name following the opening of the .travel domain this week (October 3rd). But sceptics believe it's just another money-making scheme for those at the top. Internet body ICANN has handed control of the registry process to Tralliance – a US company looking to organise the world's travel information. Consequently, Tralliance aim to create an online travel directory supposedly improving the consumer experience. Lawrence Jones is the Managing Director of UKFast.Net, a top tier ISP. He hosts websites from all areas of the travel sector and believes the introduction of .travel is unnecessary with profiteers mostly effecting the smaller fish in the pond. Malcolm Challinor, MD of Stoke-on-Trent coach firm Challinor Travel doesn't intend to pay over one hundred pounds a year for a name he is not interested in using. “Our web sales are bookings from colleges and universities that find us through Google,” says Challinor. “Why use a new directory, when established search engines are so popular.” Lawrence Jones agrees and is advising any worried clients not to overreact. “Tralliance appear to be a travel conglomerate looking to join the Search market too late in the day. They design it to look like it benefits businesses and the consumer, but it only lines a small number of pockets.” However, the big players are getting involved. BA admit they have secured a list of names including www.ba.travel and www.britishairways.travel. They point out however, that at this stage the move is more to protect their brand than use the domains. The process for securing a .travel domain involves gaining accreditation from a national travel association (such as the ABTA). So specific names are free from poachers. Generic names however are more available and for some companies the risk is a reality. Andy Speight of www.skybargains.co.uk has received his accreditation and got skybargains.travel. He has no intention of the company trading on the new name at the present time but like BA feels the need to protect his brand. “I think this will just add confusion in the consumers eye and offer no real benefit. Once Online consumers have used Google and Yahoo there's rarely any need to search further.” Lawrence Jones believes that ICANN ought to be concentrating their efforts on other things. “There are much more important Online issues than new top level domains which compartmentalise the Internet. ICANN should be working harder to combat Spam, malware and other cyber crime, protecting businesses online not ripping them off!” The new TLD will be launched in full in the New Year and time will tell what effect it has on the travel industry and the Web as a whole.
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