D13.2.3 Market Analysis


SRI's .geo initiative envisions a new way of using the Internet.  It also posits new uses for geospatial data, including uses quite different from existing GIS and other geospatial products and services.  Extrapolations from the current GIS market, while possible, are probably misleading: .geo's eventual markets will be both broader and more intensive than the current GIS market.  Nevertheless, we begin with an overview of the current GIS market, since in form it loosely resembles the markets we expect to develop around the use of .geo.  The overview provides a baseline for estimating .geo's impact on existing markets.

We then discuss market trends that suggest just the magnitute of .geo's impact on industrial, commercial, and government markets.  Chief among these trends is the emergence of elaborate value chains, enabled by the Internet, that multiply the power of innovations like .geo.  We describe anticipated vertical markets for .geo and provide scenarios for .geo's use. 

Finally, we discuss competition for .geo, online and offline.  We find that competition for .geo per se is virtually nonexistent.  We also find, however, that .geo will encourage competition both in services regulated by ICANN and generally, in terms of geospatial applications for which .geo provides an open, reliable foundation.

The Current GIS Marketplace

GIS (geographical information systems) enable the collection, analysis, and display of geospatial information.  Such systems currently are used in almost all industries, by all governments, and in research and education for which geospatiality plays a major role.  Estimates vary, but a report by the leading IT research consultancy, Daratech, indicates that 1999 GIS software sales in North America exceeded $845 million, with a growth rate of over 12.9 percent.  Industry leaders include ESRI, Intergraph, AutoDesk, and MapInfo, all companies headquartered in the United States.   Robust GIS industries   mostly based on services   also exist in Europe, led by U.K. software manufacturer Smallworld, and on other continents.  Total annual worldwide sales of GIS software and related hardware and services are now $6.9 billion and rising quickly.[1]

GIS business applications fall into seven major categories (with illustrative applications)[2]:

   Analytic applications/data warehousing (customer churn analysis, facility siting, traffic-flow analysis, predictive modeling for retail sales)

   Vertical applications (package tracking, airline reservations, insurance claims-processing, RF analysis for the wireless industry)

   Enterprise resource management (ERM) applications (accounting, AM/FM [automatic mapping/facilities management] records, human resources, materials management, facilities management)

   Customer relationship management (CRM) applications (sales force automation, customer service, marketing activities, call centers)

   General commerce applications (order processing, fulfillment, delivery)

   Collaborative applications (groupware, email, conferencing)

   Personal productivity applications (office suites, Web-based applications).


In each of these categories are analogous applications for government and third-sector (nonprofit and grassroots) organizations.

The adaptation of formerly proprietary GIS systems for use on the Internet, via the Web, is driving new applications of GIS.  Open standards enable data contained in GIS systems to be widely shared among various applications, thus increasing the value of the data and the systems that use it.

New applications of GIS and a cognate technology, global positioning systems (GPS), are planned by the wireless communications and transportation industries (including the automotive industries).  These promise to eclipse existing markets for GIS.  Estimates for these industries are unreliable, since growth is anticipated to be rapid and widespread, but most agree that applications of GIS/GPS by these industries could generate annual sales in the tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars within the next five years.

In short, GIS is everywhere.  Its applications are diverse, almost ubiquitous.  But GIS remains a specialist's technology, mainly used for the analysis and display of geospatial data.  The metadata it can relate is often proprietary and limited.  Unlike .geo, GIS cannot generate a universal atlas of Internet information.  When it comes to practical applications of geospatial data, GIS is only the tip of the iceberg.

Market Trends

Value Chains.  By far the most significant market trend affecting the use of geospatial technology is the emergence of vast value chains made explicit by their presence on the Internet.   These value chains unite manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.  As value chains multiply and grow, they fuse and become integrated.  These ever-expanding digital skeins encompass and energize every business activity.  This phenomenon is important not only to the businesses tied into these value chains, but also to governments who regulate these businesses and the consumers who patronize them.

The need to manage value chains is becoming urgent.  The synergies that can result from value-chain network effects are currently underexploited.  .geo, with more exploratory power than conventional GIS, is ideal for identifying and tapping these synergies.  GIS's future is bright, but the future for .geo is brighter.

For example, .geo will have widespread applications in the $500 billion/year North American construction industry as an Internet-based tool for locating and managing resources (including material, labor, and capital).  Construction in turn requires architectural and civil engineering services; the fabrication and transportation of building materials; sales of buildings and other components of the built environment; and ultimately, facilities use and management based on strategic business planning.  All of these components of the construction value chain will be more manageable via the Internet with .geo.

Value chains of every variety exist everywhere.  The size of these markets as measured by annual revenues reaches into the trillions of dollars each year.  The existing shipping market, for example, for which Internet applications are now being launched, is estimated to be anywhere from $100 billion to $1 trillion annually.[3]

Food, electricity, education, petrochemicals, government services, health and pharmaceuticals, communications, travel and tourism, entertainment, environmental management: virtually every field of human endeavor and commerce today is characterized by complex, rich value chains that multiply the value of geospatial information as a resource for understanding and managing these value chains.  .geo, because it will be integral to the Internet-based discovery, deployment, and use of this information, will do more than increase the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States.  On a global basis, .geo will impact the gross world product.

Democratization of Technology.  Another market trend that will contribute to .geo's rapid "uptake" is the democratization of information resources based on increasingly economical information technology (IT).  Low-cost IT is penetrating sectors and communities where computing was formerly within the exclusive purview of large institutions.  In rural Egypt, for example, the government is placing personal computers and access to the Internet at the disposal of individuals via community computing centers that promote grassroots economic development efforts.[4]  Similar driving-down of IT within developed economies is just as profound and considerably farther along.  .geo, as a Web-based technology, will benefit from the Internet's improved accessibility.  Even novices will have greater familiarity with the Internet and thus will be prospective .geo users.

Widespread Geospatial Knowledge.  As more individuals around the world share geospatial knowledge, geospatiality is becoming a part of the popular discourse, and its worth as a paradigm is more widely appreciated.  .geo is well timed to coincide with this growing awareness of geospatial information's great value.  .geo's consumer appeal will equal its appeal to business.

Measuring .geo's Markets

These trends and related factors make it extremely difficult to bound and measure the entire market for .geo.  Early economists must have found it similarly difficult to estimate the market value of latitude and longitude (although the English Parliament, in the 1700s, put a price on it   the "Longitude Prize" of ₤20,000, then a large fortune![5]).  The invention and use of these global standards gave rise to vast trading companies and, in turn, economic and political empires whose effects are with us still.

.geo's use as the "latitude and longitude" of the Internet may have consequences equally profound.   Like the sextant and chronometer of a 19th-Century explorer, .geo will enhance the Internet user's ability to discover, analyze, and apply information available online.  It will open a Virtual New World of possibilities   which, like the historical New World, is impossible to accurately survey and measure on first sight.

That having been said, for ICANN's purpose   to establish .geo's viability   we have identified below the vertical markets for .geo that are most apparent to us.  Forecasting based on unprecedented technological innovations is of course fraught with error.  As technology commentator Paul Saffo observes, "We always overestimate the immediate impact of new technologies and underestimate their long-term consequences."  We probably are underestimating .geo's long-term consequences because we simply cannot foresee all the ways in which .geo actually will be applied, and to what extent.  What follows is our best guess, for now.

Vertical Markets and User Scenarios

The vertical markets and user scenarios described below are indicative, not inclusive.  Cumulatively, they employ many millions of workers whom we believe will become ardent users of .geo.  As the number of .geo users climbs, .geo's economic viability becomes assured.  At the same time, the upper boundaries of .geo's total market will become increasingly difficult to forecast, so NeuDomain, our registry partner, and we are planning liberally, to accommodate strong demand.

.geo's markets and applications fall into three categories:

         Primary: the discovery of georeferenced information

         Secondary:  the analysis of georeferenced information

         Tertiary:  action and/or collaboration based on georeferenced information

Each of the market forecasts below include one or more of these categories of applications, described as "user scenarios."  Combining application types increases the value of .geo.  The last of the markets, Education, receives special treatment.  We consider education a primary beneficiary of .geo's operation.

Tourism and Travel

According to the U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), for the last three decades world tourism has grown at an average rate of seven percent per annum, measured in arrivals, and 12 percent per annum in receipts a remarkable record of consistent growth.  In 1997, international tourism generated revenues of $448 billion.  When transport and domestic travel is factored in, this number increases nearly tenfold to $3.8 trillion in 1997 (10.7 percent of the world GDP), supporting 262 million jobs (10.5 percent of total world employment).  Forecasts indicate continued growth through 2020 at a rate twice that of the GDP, with substantial multiplier effects for economic development and job creation around the world.[6]   An indicator of growth in the travel sector is airline passenger traffic, which is increasing by five to six percent annually, to 3.284 billion passenger-kilometers in 2002.[7]

On the other hand, tourism's development is unequal throughout the world.  This is because most tourists and the travel agencies that serve them have sparse information about destinations "off the beaten path"   meaning most of the developing world and a good deal of the developed world.  On the Internet, tourism information is abundant, but search engines that find it are heavily skewed toward locating clich  attractions in the developed world.   The search engine companies and their online travel affiliates have an interest in selling travel to high-volume destinations that return high margins. 

 (Increasingly, too, directories and search engines sell positions in search results, a behavior that is guaranteed to erode user confidence for each of the markets described here.)

The Internet user will use .geo to (a) gain more complete information about tourism opportunities, directly from the data providers who are associated with these opportunities or from travel agencies, by choice; and (b) avoid search results that are biased by vendors' ontological biases and economic motivations.

User scenario.  The traveler or travel agent enters the name of a region or locale into a search box, together with some qualifiers:  for example, "destinations recommended by National Geographic" or "U.N. Heritage Sites."   .geo returns to the user a list of destinations in the region or at the locale, validated for quality by the desired entity (in this case, National Geographic or UNESCO), and a host of related information pertaining to the destinations.  This information can be viewed as a mosaic of information types (lists, photographs, animations, maps, written descriptions and reviews, music, and so forth) or as a fused  information environment    a complete model of the place  that can be explored in 3D.

Business Logistics

Business logistics comprises an array of activities including product packaging and delivery, warehousing, inventory management, B2B customer relationship management, and so forth.  While an accurate estimate of the business logistics market is not available, due to its size and complexity, it is safe to say that today's business logistics industry is almost as large as the manufacturing industry that it serves.  Business logistics has panache: the delivery of goods by a specialty express firm like Federal Express can contribute to a client's brand equity.  Business logistics has become a central element in progressive companies' strategic plans, including planning for both marketing and operations.

This industry is based on knowing where things are, and where and when they are going: products, materials to build products, places to store products, vehicles to move products, and destinations to which products are delivered.  Contemporary business logistics even requires knowing where products are after they are sold, in case maintenance or support is required.  .geo can turn the Internet into a large business-logistics machine for discovering where things are and monitoring their status.

User scenario.  A firm barcodes all of the parts it requires to assemble end products.  Each barcode automatically generates a geodata record of the part, which the firm   serving as its own  dynamic  GeoRegistrar   automatically processes and registers with an appropriate high-resolution GeoRegistry.  Each time the part changes location, sensors detect it and its geodata record is altered and reregistered.  A search based on barcodes returns a dynamic, multidimensional map of the firm's supply chains and their contents, the parts destined for assembly.  Other inputs to production   workers and capital flows   can also be georeferenced, as can the firm's products.  .geo enables a business-logistics firm to stay informed about its clients' essential factors of production, wherever they are, for the purpose of optimizing their processing and availability.

Shipping (Marine Transport)

The global shipping industry, which grows in direct proportion to the global economy, now generates hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues.[8]  But it is highly fragmented, even though a few operators dominate in each of the major sectors of the industry.[9]  (The market is much larger if private shipping is included together with public carriers.) Success in shipping consists of reserving the right ships at the right location at the right moment to acquire cargo cheap and deliver it at a good profit.  The archetypal example is the transport of bunker oil, highly viscous petroleum that is the basis of many refined products.  When oil supplies are plentiful, operators  keep ships "hovering," waiting for a crisis to develop in one region or another, to which the ships containing the bunker oil can be diverted. Fleets are constantly in motion to increase the chances that ships will be available to serve profitable opportunities.

Because of the sheer number of contracts that need to be consummated, arrangements for the delivery of cargo traditionally must be made in just a few moments, even though weeks may go by before a cargo actually sails.  Keeping track of ships and their cargos is a problem akin to the value-chain problem described above.

User scenario.  Ships and cargos are labeled with the equivalent of product barcodes.  These geodata tags enable fleet and cargo managers to track these items' respective movements, using data supplied by Web sites linked to satellites and harbor sensors.  The management of marine transportation is a classic study in optimizing personnel value chains, where the components of the value chains   ships, ports, containers, and seamen, for example   are relatively few and must be efficiently used.  .geo makes this possible.

Real Estate

Every human being lives, works, and recreates somewhere.  The rental or ownership of residential, business, and recreational property   including property that is collectively owned or under public stewardship   is a  pervasive human activity.  The location and characteristics of property  determine its aesthetic and market value.  This information is geospatial by nature.

What is the sum product of all property value in the world multiplied by how often it changes hands?  This is the real-estate market for .geo.  .geo will be used to facilitate real-estate transactions (buying new property, paying taxes, arranging for development or improvements, and protecting natural resources) depending on the locale within which it will be applied. 

User scenario.  There will be as many ways to use .geo for real-estate purposes as there are types of property and property users.  A simple application in the commercial business sector involves the use of a search mechanism to identify a desired property via online database resources.  Traditionally, this is where the process ends.  With .geo in effect, however, the presentation of the desired property will be accompanied by pointers to related information describing the neighborhood, value gradients, zoning and tax laws, nearby transportation and amenities.  This type of information is currently available from proprietary databases but with .geo, every search can retrieve richer information.  With the appropriate tools, .geo might present this information in graphical form as part of a 3D tour of the desired property, aiding the user's comprehension of the property's true value.


Government is an enormous producer and consumer of information.  Expenditures for information management in the government sector are one of the largest components of world GDP, and possibly the largest.  Many levels of government   local, regional, national, and international   act and interact to bring order to the world.  Governments are also highly idiosyncratic, embodying local laws and traditions that differ in every way possible.  Their information processes are similarly idiosyncratic, putting a strain on public and private institutions, and on individuals, trying to coordinate their activities with government.

Because .geo will help to locate and cull information on a geospatial basis that can correspond to government jurisdictions, it will mitigate many of the costs of governance and streamline the process of dealing with government.  These uses of .geo will be as many and varied as the activities of government itself.

User scenario.  A citizen wishes to identify all of the laws, regulations, government resources, and programs available to help set up a business, locally or in another jurisdiction.  A search enabled by .geo retrieves the relevant information specifically pertaining to the citizen's query, enhanced by government-supplied validations that prioritize the presentation of official information pertinent to the business type.  The citizen can apply additional filters to locate information supplied by commercial associations or other businesses of a similar type, to enrich the citizen's understanding of the business environment, the challenges facing new businesses, and the likelihood of the specific enterprise's success.

Oil and Gas

The exploration and development of oil and gas resources have not kept pace with the global demand for petrochemical products.[10]  Investors have been reluctant to fund the discovery and exploitation of new deposits, due to the ups and downs of the oil market (a phenomenon disguised by the current high demand for oil products, possibly a result of overly aggressive supply management and even more unrestrained demand).  One result has been a spate of mega-mergers contributing to even greater competitive pressure for the use of existing reserves.  A major crisis is brewing.[11]

Companies in the oil and gas industry must profitably carry out exploration and development as well as make better use of existing resources.  The enormous oil and gas industry, with its worldwide revenues of $149 billion, is already one of the most progressive in its use of information technology to locate and manage resources.[12]  .geo will fit well with the current practices of the oil and gas industry.  To the extent that these practices migrate to the Internet, .geo can make them more effective and efficient. .geo also will help users to gather and analyze multidimensional information  on new or established resources and will facilitate the sharing of information among cooperating companies.  Cooperation increasingly typifies the once fiercely competitive oil and gas industry.

User scenario.  A team of geophysicists is trying to determine the probability of oil resources being found at a likely subsea location.  It is not feasible to physically explore the location; the geophysicists must rely on historical geological information and data supplied by satellites and ship-borne technology.  Using a .geo-enabled search, the geophysicists assemble information relevant to the location from a wide variety of sources.  .geo turns up a surprising clue : a 16th-Century report by the captain of a Spanish galleon, quoted in a thesis published online, describing a  welling-up of tar" from beneath the waves.  This vital bit of information, which otherwise might have gone undiscovered, enables the geophysicists to confirm their intuition and recommend further exploration of the location.

Valuable contextual information abounds on the Internet.  It remains unexploited because it is unknown.  Its value is incalculable.  .geo will help realize this value.

Public Utilities

The multibillion-dollar utility industry is in turmoil.  Around the world, deregulation and consolidation are shaking awake what was once a sleepy industry.  Telecommunications, power, and water utilities are under great pressure to renovate and innovate.   In response, utilities are diversifying into new businesses, divesting others, and reshaping themselves as best they can into faster-moving, competitive enterprises. 

Nevertheless, by government fiat or because regulated markets remain profitable, many utilities continue to deliver essential services.  This means moving information, energy, or water from one place to another; but designing and building networks capable of transmitting these services is a major challenge to utility managers.  Whether utilities are locating a power grid or an irrigation system, their decisions are often environmentally as well as economically sensitive.  Utilities are also under pressure to reduce emissions and mitigate other operational threats to the environment.[13]

User scenario.  Utility planners traditionally use GIS systems to physically plan networks.  To amplify their understanding of a particular network elaboration, a team of planners decide to supplement their GIS analysis with a .geo-enabled search exploring the locales through which the network will pass.  Using a 3D display of the information retrieved using .geo, the planners discover that several solutions have serious environmental or cultural impacts that would slow or prevent their deployment.  The search reveals, however, that one solution has only a few such impacts; with reasonable effort, these can be mitigated.  In addition to identifying these impacts,  .geo identifies the organizations the utility planners will have to contact to enable this solution.

Wireless Service

Wireless service is about to overtake conventional landline telephony as the world's preferred medium of personal communication.  In Scandinavia and Japan   bellwether technology cultures   the use of cellular telephones is almost universal.  In these societies, the majority of preteens as well as teenagers and adults use cellular telephones.  Many former subscribers have given up conventional telephone service and prefer to use cellular telephones exclusively.  By 2002, the worldwide growth of wireless systems will reach between 417 million and 573 million subscribers.[14]  In developing countries, terrestrial and satellite-enabled wireless services will be operating long before counterpart landline networks become available.

User scenario 1.  Especially in urban areas, but also in rural zones, the initial location of transmitters and the subsequent location of both transmitters and receivers are essential to a wireless system's successful operation.  As in the utility industry, the elaboration of networks is a dicey affair, further complicated by the erratic performance of wireless technology.  Atmospheric and electromagnetic conditions must be right, in addition to all of the factors bearing on utility networks, for wireless services to work.

Wireless network planners use a specialized browser to compile all data pertaining to the location of mini-transmitters to be located in an urban core as part of a large PCS network.   The browser, which is .geo enabled, organizes data governing the location of the transmitters into a navigable 3D environment.  The planners use a joystick and roller-ball to move transmitter icons from place to place until they identify the precise location where constraints are fewest and performance is best.

User scenario 2.  From the subscriber's standpoint, location is equally important.  Most cellular telephones in the future will be GPS equipped.  If the subscriber wishes, the device's location can always be known and its metadata record dynamically altered as the subscriber moves from place to place.   The wireless subscriber can be kept informed, via searches of the Internet, of other subscribers' locations and also of the locations of business establishments, government offices, entertainment facilities, and virtual places (online service providers, for example).  This capability turns the cellular phone into much more than a simple communication device.  In this scenario, which .geo makes possible with relative ease, the cellular phone becomes a window on the world, literally. To this end, the wireless service provider or the subscriber must register the device's metadata; hence, wireless service providers may decide to become their own GeoRegistries.

Retail Sales

Everywhere except in the most remote terrains, the sheer volume of customers and retail establishments makes it difficult to establish mutually favorable relationships.  Customers settle for doing business with any retail establishment that is apparently the most convenient, even though there might be others more appropriate to their needs and not far off.  Retail businesses, despite extensive marketing, end up doing business with whoever walks through the door.  The enormous retail industry ultimately relies on luck to conduct its business.

This randomness is pervasive to retail; it has long been considered an unavoidable cost of doing business.  Even the largest retail establishments in North America, with substantial consumer research and marketing capabilities, are run in an artful rather than scientific manner.[15]  .geo is not intended to reduce the creativity involved in running a retail business, but it can add order to the process by which customers and retailers find each other to do business that is beneficial to each.

User scenario.  A customer needs a gift delivered to a friend overseas.  Rather than rely on an arbitrary list of businesses composed by a search engine with unknown internal biases, producing results that may be skewed or incomplete, the customer does a .geo-enabled search.  The customer specifies the overseas location and the product categories in which the customer is interested.  .geo compiles a complete list of establishments within the zone and directs the customer to their Web sites, physical locations, telephone numbers, and other points of contact.  The customer can further qualify the search by filtering based on brand validations offered by manufacturers and distributors, quality validations offered by consumer-advocacy organizations, or the comments of past customers who have registered their geodata and offered their opinions online.


We have saved the best for last.  Education has been a primary a beneficiary of the Internet and it will be a primary  beneficiary of .geo.  We believe it deserves a special discussion in this section.

The Internet is inducing change in science education, in particular, at all levels.  Instead of memorizing theories and repeating classic experiments, students can actively collaborate with scientists in meaningful research. The Internet affords students the opportunity to watch scientists and adventurers in action (e.g., quest.classroom.com, www.jasonproject.org, www.tidalpassages.com) and it enables students to contribute their own data, investigate global data sets, and conduct scientific inquiry guided by their own curiosity. For example, the multi-agency project called Global Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE, at http://www.globe.gov), in which SRI plays a part, is engaging an international community of students in the collection of environmental data for use in both scientific research and student education.

Many students and teachers first ask GLOBE,  What's it like where I live?  Education progressively moves our focus outward (outside-in), but there is value in connecting with local experiences (inside-out), too. When children make their own maps and study their own locales, the strong affective component of these activities motivates further learning. Starting from where they are, they can trace webs of connections to more distant places: the source of their water, food, ancestors, and so on. Deeper understanding of their own places enables students to more meaningfully compare the culture and biogeography of their own places to characteristics of others' places, and vice versa.  .geo empowers students in just this way.

In the basic learning process, a students collects information about his or her own place, constructs some artifact that represents that information, and then connects it with other information about that place. The student can publish these findings on a Web page or enter the data in a global database such as GLOBE. Students around the world can do the same.  But local data about one's own place, let alone about others' places, can be difficult to find with standard search engines. The data may reside on a server at a local university or in the private collection of an aficionado. Moreover, students face special problems in accessing Internet information.  Often they do not know what search terms to use, or even what information to ask for. But if it were readily available via links to the place name where they reside, they could find it in a snap. This is a principal benefit of .geo.

User scenario.  In order to support students' learning from the inside out as described above, we propose to jump-start the information collection process by organizing what we call a Dot-Geo Day. Dot-Geo Day is a special day:  students from around the world, teamed with science teachers, expert photographers, audio engineers, and content experts (historians, field biologists, geologists, etc.) visit local places of interest and collect multimedia data about those places. At home in their classrooms, the students organize and publish the data so that it is accessible via .geo. When they revisit the information later on, they and students around the world will see relevant information about their place that could lead to further investigations.  They may also notice in larger data sets emergent patterns that stimulate their further questions.

Compare Dot-Geo Day with existing  local action  days. Activist days such as Earth Day or a local cleanup-day encourage people to change their actions or fix a problem.  These days educate students about the impact of their actions, although without much emphasis on scientific learning. Awareness days such as GIS Day (which is held during Geography Awareness Week) concentrate more on learning, but only in a passive way: students see pre-formed displays of data that others have collected. Events like Net Day engage local experts in making a difference in education.

Dot-Geo Day will incorporate elements of all of these other events. As in Net Day, local experts will provide technical and content expertise. As in GIS Day, students will engage with depictions of underlying data that can be visualized. And, as in Earth Day, students will create lasting artifacts and retain powerful reflections of their and other students' work, local and from around the world.


We have investigated the current geospatial markets to determine if there are competitors to .geo with which .geo conflicts, or which could threaten .geo's adaptation.  We find none. 

Online Directories and Search Engines.  Every Internet user knows that the capabilities of current directories and search engines are inadequate to the task of inventorying and providing relevant directions to Internet resources.  Human directories can't keep up with the rush of information.  Search engines are equally incomplete.  Both are biased, sometimes intentionally.  (Less ethical search engine operators may extort revenues from paying listees, to whom they give preferential placement in search results.)  Additionally, neither directories nor search engines help educate Internet users in how to search for information mor intelligently, since they protect their search methods like gold.   Innovations  like Google, reify past search behaviors.  They increase the likelihood that an Internet user will find out only what everyone else has already discovered, and very little that is new.

Directory and search engine providers can make their services more complete, less biased, and easier to use by incorporating .geo.  The .geo paradigm is so powerful, so appropriately aligned with user capabilities, that it will transform the meaning of "search" from a frustrating experience to one that is truly rewarding.

GIS. .geo also will make existing GIS technology more powerful by enabling conventional GIS systems to access information that now is not available in proprietary GIS formats. Current GIS manufacturers and analysts will also be able to distribute their products and services more widely via ASPs and similar .geo enabled, Web-based services.  We expect the GIS industry to embrace .geo.

Online mapping services.  What about online mapping services?  In many cases, they already are obsolescent, soon to be replaced in many applications by automatic GPS.  Online mapping suffers from the same basic deficiency as its paper counterpart:  less than one-third of adults can read conventional maps.  Hence, the value of online maps is seriously in doubt.  In the short run, .geo can be used to re-energize online mapping services by making them more comprehensive.  Ultimately, however, .geo will encourage new ways of using geospatial data on the Internet, beyond mapping.

.geo will not require users to read maps for the retrieval and presentation of georeferenced information.  Users will be able to search via simple text inputs. They also will be able to use 3D browsers, like SRI's TerraVision (freely available on the Internet at http://www.tvgeo.com/), to visually and acoustically search through data, by means of their highly evolved, multidimensional sensory and cognitive capabilities.  Determined users will be able to generate maps as before.

Commercial and governmental geospatial information services. Many commercial vendors offer geoparsed information on the Web.  (Go2Online.com and MapQuest are typical of this category.)  Government and nonprofit agencies too are experimenting with making geospatial information available to the public.  We believe that .geo will appeal to these entities, public and private alike. .geo will not eliminate these other geospatial approaches:  it will make them more effective.

The .geo paradigm, because it is so powerful, will subsume potential competitors.  It will also create new opportunities for competition in the provision of geospatial information services and products based on geospatial information  .geo will breed competition where it counts: in applications that make the Internet more powerful, useful, and efficient.  Also, .geo will enable an army of competing GeoRegistrars and GeoRegistries to serve a skyrocketing population of .geo users. 

.geo will meet a vital public need in a way that satisfies ICANN's criteria for acceptability.  .geo's  market  includes everyone.

D13.2.4 Marketing Plan for the Registry Operators Proposal

The marketing plan for .geo focuses on the rapid adoption of .geo by its many Partners and End-Users. In this section, we will discuss the marketing plans for our Partners in establishing the infrastructure and the business and consumer End-Users who will ultimately be credited with the wide acceptance of .geo.

The Marketing Approach

Our marketing approach is based on the classic technology-adoption curve.  This approach describes the phases of a product's adoption cycle, the Partners and End-Users for each phase, and how to target them.  For the Partners, focusing on the early adopters in the initial years is essential. These companies, agencies, and organizations will get one-to-one attention combining evangelism with education. Approaching early-adopter entities as Partners will speed .geo's growth. Remaining flexible and adapting to the needs and objections of these organizations will be an essential element of the culture we intend to nurture within the organizations supporting .geo's infrastructure.  As acceptance and usage of .geo grows, we will employ mass marketing techniques and expand our efforts into new vertical segments, using the early adopters as our Partners.

The adoption curve will also be applied to End-Users. End-Users are the companies and individuals that already possess data online, who would like it to be georeferenced so that it can be announced by .geo; and companies and individuals searching with .geo for georeferenced information. The business End-Users will be organized into vertical segments and will receive focused marketing efforts. Viral marketing (techniques using word of mouth on the Web, for example) will enable us to attract the consumer End-User.

In addition to the many Partners and End-Users that must be reached is scope of each segment; all segments have worldwide coverage. Although all geographic areas need to be covered, some will have a higher priority than others, due to current and forecasted Internet population and usage. 


A variety of different Partners are involved in establishing the .geo framework. The primary Partners are the GeoRegistries, the GeoRegistrars, and the Data/Content Providers, each of whom will play a crucial role in both establishing and growing.geo.

While Validators are not involved in the physical and technical structure of the hierarchy, as certifiers of data's authenticity and sources, they are essential to establishing the quality and characteristics of retrieved data.  They play a vital role in the adoption of .geo.

Marketing Plan for Partners

The marketing plan focuses on the early portion of the technology adoption curve. The key components of the marketing plan for each partner are discussed below:

GeoRegistries. They require a hands-on, one-to-one approach during the initial years.  An intensive one-on-one approach is possible because initially only a few GeoRegistries will be required to serve each region.

GeoRegistrars. Large numbers of qualified GeoRegistrars will be necessary to make it easy for users to register geodata with the GeoRegistries. Accrediting key Partners early on will be critical to the overall success of .geo. Therefore, a mix of one-to-one and mass marketing techniques will be used to enlist GeoRegistrars. Segmentation techniques will permit us to accurately target these potential Partners. Potential Partners also can be signed up by the GeoRegistries' own marketing activities.

Data/Content Providers. Data/Content Providers   individuals or organizations who want to have their Internet information georeferenced   will use .geo's capabilities to make their web sites known to a broader population. Data/Content Providers' participation at the beginning of the adoption curve will be critical to .geo, since the greater the variety of Data/Content Providers, the richer and more valuable will be the .geo experience. A mix of one-to-one and mass marketing techniques will be used to attract Data/Content Providers.

Validators. High-quality Validators will perform a critical function:  their certification of data, based on the criteria they choose, will bolster the users' trust in .geo-retrieved information.  Validators will be many, and of many different types; soliciting them will be a long-term project employing a variety of online and offline promotional techniques.

Key programs to reach these Partners include:

         Market Development Evangelism - Identifying the companies that potentially meet the criteria for becoming GeoRegistries and GeoRegistrars, and discussing the opportunity with them. This one-to-one approach is very resource intensive. GeoRegistries need to cover the earth; reaching them will be a worldwide effort. GeoRegistrars need to be close to the End-User (close in terms of business relationships); theirs will be a worldwide effort, focusing on each region.  Similar programs will be developed by SRI and by our Partners to attract Data/Content Providers and Validators.

         White papers and Marketing Communications - Descriptions of .geo in multiple channels will help to educate potential Partners on the technical and business merits of .geo.

         Web site  - The .geo web site will be essential for communicating with the Partners and End-Users.

         .geo Forum - The establishment of the .geo Forum in which the Partners can participate will better enable them to meet their business needs and provide us with valuable feedback to shape .geo accordingly.

         Demonstrations - Demonstrating all aspects of .geo will be an important component in educating all Partners and End-Users.

         Public Relations - General press coverage will demonstrate the overall acceptance and usage of .geo. Additionally, key articles in industry publications will attract, educate, and enlist more Partners and more types of Partners.

         Conferences and Speaking Engagements - Presentations and demonstrations at the segments' industry events will be important in efficiently reaching large numbers.

         Co-marketing Partners to GeoRegistrars - GeoRegistries will also be co-marketing Partners in marketing to GeoRegistrars, who are the GeoRegistries' customers. This important function will be handled on a case-by-case basis with each GeoRegistry.

         Co-marketing Partners to End-Users - The GeoRegistrars' customers will be End-Users, individuals, companies, businesses, and nonprofits. Co-marketing programs will be established to assist GeoRegistrars with their marketing efforts.

         Tradeshows  - Participation in targeted industry tradeshows.

         Demonstrations - Demonstrating all aspects of .geo will be an important component in educating all Partners and users.


The End-Users are the  customer  segment that will ultimately make .geo a success. A variety of marketing techniques will be employed to educate End-Users so that they generate and use georeferenced data.  That is .geo's bottom line. These End-Users will also be reached through the GeoRegistrars' marketing activities.

End-Users are divided into vertical segments.  The following programs will be customized and applied to each segment:

         Public Relations - General press coverage will demonstrate the overall acceptance and usage of .geo. Articles describing and discussing how this segment is using .geo will be part of the PR plan.

         White papers and Marketing Communications - Descriptions of .geo in multiple channels will help to educate potential Partners on the technical and business merits of .geo.

         Web site  - The Web site will be an essential component for communicating with the Partners and users.

         Conferences and Speaking Engagements - Presentations and demonstrations at the segments' industry events will efficiently reach large numbers of End-Users.

         Demonstrations - Demonstrating all aspects of .geo will be an important component in educating all Partners and users.

         .geo Forum - The establishment of the .geo Forum in which End-Users can participate will better enable them to meet their production and consumption needs and provide us with valuable feedback to shape .geo accordingly.

[1] Daratech, Prospectus for Geographic Information Systems Markets and Opportunities, June 2000 (http://www.daratech.com/).


[2] David Sonnen, "Spatial Information Management: Fitting in with Everything Else," Directions Magazine (http://www.directionsmag.com/article.asp?articleID=40), 2000.


[3] "Ronna Abramson, "The Shipping News," The Industry Standard, August 28, 2000.

[4] Report of Dr. S. Hashem, UNCTAD Expert Meeting on E-Commerce and Tourism, Geneva, 18-20 September 2000.


[5] Dava Sobel, Longitude, Penguin Books, 1996.  "In the wake of John Harrison's success with H-4 [the  Watch," the first chronometer, which solved the longitude puzzle], legions of watchmakers took up the special calling of marine timekeeping.  It became a boom industry in a maritime nation.  Indeed, some modern horologists claim that Harrison's work facilitated England's mastery over the oceans, and thereby led to the creation of the British Empire   for it was by dint of chronometer that Britannia ruled the waves."  In the 18th and 19th Centuries, chronometers became state secrets.  .geo, though potentially of equal power, is an open system:  it is the property of the world.

[6] UNCTAD Secretariat, International Trade in Tourism-Related Services:  Issues and Options for Developing Countries, TD/B/COM.1/EM.6/2, 8 April 1998.

[7] International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), "Strong Passenger Traffic Growth Expected Through 2002," PIO 09/2000 (press release).

[8] Ibid, Abramson.

[9] UNCTAD, Review of Maritime Transport 1999, E.99.II.D.21.

[10] Arthur Andersen, "Oil & gas industry spending began lagging-price recovery in '99:  Arthur Andersen benchmark survey," July 25, 2000 (press release).

[11] Arthur Andersen, 1999-2000 U.S. Oil and Gas Outlook Survey Results, December 1999.

[12] Arthur Andersen, World Oil Trends 2000, http://www.knowledgespace.com/OG/Resc/Wot2000


[13] WetFeet.com, "Energy and Utilities," http://www.wetfeet.com/industries/energy-online.asp


[14] WirelessClick, "Growth Projections," September 25, 2000, http://www.wirelessclick.com


[15] Chain Store Age, "State of the Industry," August 2000, http://www.chainstoreage.com