The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) have revealed they are dramatically increased the number of web domain suffixes from the existing 22.
The creation of new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) will be the biggest change on the internet for years, and will see internet address names end with any word and in any language – opening the potential for an infinite number of domain endings.
Originally revealed by SamJaneNoble after attending MarkMonitor’s Spring Symposium, the expansion of the gTLDs was discussed ,with the programme scheduled to be approved on the 20th June [See: The New gTLD Programme from ICANN]. True to Icann’s word, today the deal has been finalised with applications for a new domain ending starting from 12th January 2012.
The new gTLDs opens up a whole new world to internet domain names which will see address ending in brand or company names, or even the names of cities. For example, .coke or .google, as well as .london. However the application will be far from simple or cheap.
It has been reported that companies will need to pay up to $185,000 (£114,000) to apply for the new gTLDs, with the procedure being a lengthy one. Companies will need to show they are the real company trying to buy the domain suffix as well as meet the high technical standards set out by iCann.
This means the application process will be incredibly thorough, with many experts being employed to scrutinise each of the many thousands of applications they are expecting. The high cost will be used to pay for these employees as well as deal with potential legal disputes for anyone who isn’t successful with their application.
It is unclear how Icann are going to organise the application process in terms of staggering the number of domain suffixes available. No word has been made which indicates that as of January 12th, any company, business or organisation that can afford the time and money can apply. However at such a cost, it would appear to appeal to the large corporations first and alienate small to medium sized businesses.
The benefits for brands are awe-inspiring given the level exposure and global recognition that a branded domain name can have. However there are risks over user confusion, brand abuse and piracy. For a more in depth look at the benefits and risks of iCann’s decision to increase the gTLDs see The New gTLD Programme from Icann and let us know what you think.