Many people are speculating that the ‘Dot Com Era’ is no more as the Online realty for Domain Names is about expand to almost infinite number.
No longer will you be limited to .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz or hijacking another country’s TLD (top level domain name) like .ly (Libya). ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers has voted to allow any domain name suffix (up to 65 characters) to become a TLD. For Example you could now type in http://shop.apple rather than http://shop.apple.com or I could turn my last name into a TLD and register .Downey and have all of my families names and email addresses look like “theirname.downey”.
With over 94 million .com Domain Names taken up the demand for more short and simple Domain Names is at a fever pitch. Companies looking to create their own TLD’s will have a big opportunity to cash in on the demand this year as long as they can afford the $185,000 application fee as well as the $125,000 annually. In the end, ICANN may be raking in the most dough via their fees.
The deadline to apply for the first batch of gTLD’s was March 29, 2012 with the initial objection and review process starting in the next few weeks. It is unknown when the next batch of applications will be accepted. The results can be viewed here when they have been posted. Entities looking to file a complaint in dispute of infringing copyrights and trademarks will pay upwards of $10,000 and the process will be open for up to 7 months.
With this being the first attempt at opening registration for gTLD’s the first batch deadline makes sense as they establish the infrastructure and get a sense of the scope of interest and how the review process works out. It can be expected that the next application window will be announced after all complaints are processed sometime around the fall of this year.
In the early 1990’s .com, .net & .org were released to the public through registration with Network Solutions. The going rate for a domain name was approximately $130, now most registrars offer them for around $10. Originally .com stood for Commercial, .net stood for Network & .org was intended for Non-Profit Organizations. These TLD categorizations were never enforced and were merely recommendations to try to keep things organized as the World Wide Web was about to take shape.
By the late 1990’s .Com was clearly the top tier TLD and the ‘Dot Com gold rush’ was already starting to ruin people’s chances of getting the name that they wanted as Cybersquatter’s and Opportunists had taken up most dictionary terms and all 3 letter acronyms. It was clear that they were in need of more domain names.
Before ICANN expanded to include .Info, .Biz and several specific domains with requirements such as .Coop (for Co-operatives), some savvy entrepreneurs were trying to cash in on their own TLD Gold-rush by purchasing Countries ccTLD’s or (Country Code Top Level Domains). The country of Tuvalu has leased their ccTLD .tv to the Verisign corporation in 2000, with Verisign promoting .tv as place for domains with Video and associated with Television. Most recently, in 2010 the ccTLD.co (Republic of Columbia) the country and the Neustar corporation entered a strategic partnership to allow anyone to register .co which they hoped would become a profitable business venture with .co being only 1 letter away from .com. Other ccTLD’s that were marketed for mass market appeal have been .ws, .cc, and .cm.
In 2002 ICANN announced open registrations for the United State’s first publicly available ccTLD .us. This ccTLD failed to catch on as many looked at the .com as the primary and top quality TLD for the US. Some companies like Del.icio.us were one of the first pioneers to use a ccTLD creatively brand through a URL.
The demand for more domain names may have been ignited by the recent trend of companies and brands creating Domains such as such as bre.ad, about.me and URL shorteners like twitter’s (t.co), Hootsuite’s ow.ly, Google’s goo.gl & bit.ly using a combination of ccTLD’s and partial words or letters to create a unique branded (and short) url experience.
Since the conflict in Libya has heated up overtime many startups and companies that jumped on the .ly bandwagon have since rethought the .ly TLD with the instability of the companies managing these registrations in the country could potentially lead to widespread outage for the ccTLD. With many URL shortening services using ccTLD’s, it could put user’s URL’s and data at risk of being lost.
If it isn’t the end of ‘Dot Coms’ being the most prized property on the internet, this announcement certainly could shake things up a bit. At the very least, people will be taking another look at how they promote their online brands and services on the World Wide Web.
Video Via Associated Press