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Small Business Briefing

Entrepreneurs hope to cash in on Internet domain name expansion Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz

Opportunity seen in long-awaited opening of new 'dot-anything' addresses

The organization that oversees domain names on the Internet this week will open the floodgates to all sorts of new top-level domain names on the Web -- and some entrepreneurs see "gold in the opportunity," reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will, on Thursday, begin accepting applications for new top-level domain names -- the suffixes that appear on the right side of the period of website addresses, such as the powerhouse dot.com and dot.net. It's the first time since 2000 that ICANN has opened the door for such new domains.

Some entrepreneurs have long been preparing for the day of dot-anything, and are ready or have backers prepared to help them cover the $185,000 for the application fee to become registry holders, and probably hundreds of thousands or more every year on technical support and promotion, the Journal reports.

"I've dedicated the last 10 years to this," one entrepreneur was quoted in the Journal article, who hopes to nab dot-shop as a registry holder, seeing Web addresses with that so-called "right-of-the-dot" suffix appealing to a wide range of retailers, for example, and others involved in Web sales.

Other entrepreneurs in the Journal piece have their sights set on dot-eco, which they hope will appeal to eco-friendly buyers; dot-bank and dot-secure, aiming to attract to financial institutions and companies looking for greater security; and dot-wine, aimed obviously at that community.

There are now about 22 types of top-level domain names, along with country codes, such as .ca for Canada, according to this Guardian report, and the decision to open up the domain names has not come without some criticism from governments and corporations, according to reports, including the Guardian one and this one. Last year's addition of the.xxx domain extension for adult websites created some challenges, as lawyer and columnist Tony Wilson wrote.

For those entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on the new expansion, it will be a hard slog, the Journal says. A small number of new domains may catch on, but it might take years and tons of spending and marketing efforts.

As well, if there is competition for the same domain name, there could be a bidding war, sending costs soaring.

"Many dot-something businesses will likely go bust," the Journal article predicts.

Generation Y AKA Generation Entrepreneur

Generation Y "might be more entrepreneurial than anyone thought," according to this posting on the Amex Open Forum, which looks at the results of a new survey that combed through millions of Facebook profiles to see where those aged 18 to 29 are working.

Among the findings: The fifth most popular job title in the age group is "owner," which, according to the posting, demonstrates that younger people are starting or running their own businesses and “demonstrating an unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit,’’ said Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding, which teamed up with analytics firm Identified o do the study.

As well, they found that just 7 per cent worked for a Fortune 500 company, suggesting they are not choosing to work in the same corporate environments that their parents did.

Leader or entrepreneur?

Steve Jobs, Henry Ford and Bill Gates are among the rare people who combine the characteristics of both leaders and entrepreneurs, write Rich Russakoff and Mary Goodman in this CBS News posting. Which do you lean toward? They offer some key differences between leaders and entrepreneurs, for instance, lone wolf or top dog, a visionary or one who executes? Check them out to see what you're more like.


Registering your business

Learn the ins and outs of the different business structures you can register, and which is best for you, at a seminar being held by the Business Development Centre in Toronto on Jan. 10. The complimentary seminar will offer up small business specialists and cover a range of material, from how to register and report properly to how to maximize tax advantages to information about trademarks and copyrights. For more information, click here.

Looking at the legalities

Do you know what you are legally responsible for as a business owner? Find some answers about your legal obligations at an information session being held by The Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development in Halifax on Jan. 13. For more information, click here.

Cleantech industry update

Over the past year, the industry has undergone change, with some sectors gathering steam and others hit by challenges. Attend a panel session, where members of British Columbia's cleantech community will share their stories of the past year and discuss their expectations for the future. The seminar, being held by the Vancouver Enterprise Forum, aimed at technology entrepreneurs, runs Jan. 24 in Vancouver.For more information, click here.


Cookie maker spices up its offerings

Muscle Masala has developed protein-rich cookies that feature Indian spices, writes Mark Evans in his column.


Protect your intellectual property

Many smaller enterprises fail to take the proper steps to safeguard the very things – from company and product names to product formulas to slogans and logos – that give their business an identity and an edge over their competitors, said a story that we ran last May, along with an accompanying sidebar on the six caregories in which intellectual property rights are grouped and what they cover.

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