Currently there are 22 generic top-level domains (gTLDs), which include familiar domains such as .com, .org and .net, but the Icann decision to expand Top Level Domains will allow the creation of any TLD with up to 64 characters, including regional suffixes, generic words and brand names.
ICANN states that “The expansion of the gTLD space will allow for a greater degree of innovation and choice.” However, members of the US Association of National Advertisers (ANA) are worried that more new extensions will mean bigger legal bills to fight off cybersquatters (people who try to blackmail trademark holders by registering their trademarks as domain names). There are concerns that organisations need to protect their names, and to do this they need to think about every level of the domain space.
According to The Times, “the changes mean that thousands of businesses and prominent people will be compelled to buy new web addresses to defend their online identities, costing them millions of pounds.” For example, if you are Pepsi you’re not only going to want to register your own gTLD ‘.pepsi’, you might also need to defensively register pepsi.newyork and pepsi.london,”
Josh Bourne, of the Coalition against Domain Name Abuse, said: “We predict that this expansion may force the globe’s 500 largest companies to spend an additional $2 billion, or $400,000 annually. This figure takes into account the acquiring and maintaining of domain names and making sure their brands are not hijacked by others.”
Domain Name Registry, Melbourne IT, is “advising people to buy their brands, park them and redirect visitors to their existing site at the very least.” This is something for companies to consider, if they have the funding to do so.
While some people sit and worry about the business costs of the gTLD program, others are more focused on one thing – economic stimulus. Put simply: new gTLDs will create new jobs. New gTLDs will require, conservatively, a team of 10 to 20 people each to apply for, manage and operate. Plus new businesses are likely to emerge, creating new opportunities.
Melbourne IT concludes that “The full utility and effectiveness of the change will develop over time, but initially there are sufficient inherent benefits for a wide range of organizations to justify the investment in establishing a .brand top level domain name.”
Some of the benefits of owning your own gTLD include:
- Secure name space
- Unique addressing – Stand out from the competition
- Protection and extension of your trademark
- Global, innovative branding
- Effective marketing tool
- Development of new markets
- Improved search engine positioning
- own registry policies and procedures
New gTLDs timeline:
- January 2012 – Window for applying for new domain names opens
- April 2012 – Window for applying for new domain names closes
- November 2012 – Icann to reveal which domain-name applications have been successful
If you have any questions or would like more information on the new gTLDS, you can call our Domain Name Management team on 1890 944 500 or keep checking back for more info.