VeriSign's keyword partnership with RealNames fails to address RealNames' fundamental market problem: The current Internet domain naming conventions are good enough for most people.
RealNames has been trying for years to introduce new,
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VeriSign, RealNames push keyword browsing
The RealNames problem is simple: DNS, despite its well-known weaknesses, is a technically workable--and reasonably comprehensible--method of naming Internet resources. The DNS method tends to falter when faced with the complexity and variety of consumers' interests--and with the fact that human language allows for terms that aren't specific enough to provide useful returns. Nonetheless, it remains entirely adequate for most Internet users' purposes--especially when combined with the many search engines and indexes that are available.
RealNames' perseverance in the face of daunting technical and marketing challenges has yet to translate into large-scale consumer acceptance. The VeriSign partnership, which is essentially a promotional arrangement, will probably not be the factor that enables RealNames to break through to a broader market.
This arrangement will raise awareness of the RealNames alternative, especially among less technologically sophisticated domain name buyers. Small and midsize businesses buying domain names for the first time--probably the key market segment for this deal--will learn about RealNames from VeriSign, and the resulting revenue boost will certainly be helpful.
However, RealNames' basic problem--and one that VeriSign cannot help with--is that it fails to answer an age-old question: "If there really isn't a problem, why is a solution needed?"
(For related commentary on an alliance between Microsoft and VeriSign, see Gartner.com.)
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