There has been some press coverage recently regarding a new batch of top-level domain (tld) name extensions. You may have wondered what it was all about.
I very much doubt, however, that you will have applied for one; here’s why.
In the beginning, things were very simple. The Internet began in the US with the .com, .edu and .org tlds. Very quickly, the rest of the world were granted their own, hence .co.uk, .fr, .com.au etc. A few years ago, a whole new batch were created but never really caught on – .biz, .aero, .me.uk, .ltd.uk.
So ICANN, the international body that administers these things, invited applications for new tlds that could reflect brands, new genres and non-Latin characters. The catch? Applicants had to stump up £118,800 just to apply and face a minimum £15,000 annual renewal charge to keep any tlds that are granted to them.
ICANN have just published the list of applications received which include dear old Auntie, (.bbc), Sky and ITV. We can also look forward to sites ending with .wales, .cymru and .scot.
Google applied for 101 tlds including .google and .youtube as well as, strangely, .and, .boo, .dad and .new. However, they also applied for .music, which was also claimed by seven other organisations including Amazon (amongst its 76 applications), triggering an auction process to secure sole rights.
Other tlds attracting multiple requests include . sex, .art, .book, .news, .play, .app, .shop and .vip. Of 1,930 requests for new names – 166 were in non-Latin alphabets.
The new domains should go live some time next year.
There is some disquiet amongst online marketers about the new “brand domains” due to them being available only to very large corporations. If these companies have bought them to promote their brands, and not just to protect them, then the relative equality of domain names that exists at present will be lost. We shall have to wait and see if these domains prove to be worth the investment.