Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ICANN Approves New Top-Level Domains --- Prepare For .Whatever

A number of not very descriptive top-level domains (TLDs): .com, .net, .org, as well as country-specific TLDs are what the web is currently made of, but this is about to change drastically.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the international authority over top-level domain names, has approved the expansion of generic TLDs which will allow companies and organizations to create domains for their brands (such as .coke) or simply create generic names (such as .car or .green).

This option won’t come cheap, though: The application fee alone is $185,000, and the annual fee is $25,000. Still, you can imagine large corporations spending millions on these very soon. If you’re in the business of making phones, owning a “.phone” TLD sounds like a great idea — if you can afford outbidding other phone manufacturers.

“ICANN has opened the Internet’s addressing system to the limitless possibilities of the human imagination,” said Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN. “No one can predict where this historic decision will take us.” We can safely predict one thing: Expect lots of legal disputes over company trademarks with regard to new TLDs.

Applications for new generic TLDs will be accepted from January 12, 2012, to April 12, 2012. New domains should appear within a year.

This will become a game changer for sure. The cost is high for a individual or small business, but for a major corporation it is chump change. The ability to set up a social network, community with your own TLD is priceless! Marketing directors around the WORLD are salivating right now.

Once you own a TLD, can you sell URLs to third parties? I imagine the person who swoops in and buys “.beer” or “.fashion” will have a lot of offers…

Based on a 6/20/11 article by Stan Schroeder