Just days from now, a flood of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will come online. From .Plumber to .Sexy and more, the number of gTLDs marks a five-fold increase over those introduced in the entire 20th century.
Akram Atallah, president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), said the rush means more consumer choice and more industry competition. He predicted the online landscape would be transformed by the innovation these new domain names would usher in. That may be more than hyperbole, considering that the choices were limited to 22 gTLDs under the old program.
“Why does it matter if we have more gTLDs? Because expanding choice is the frame that will surround the future picture of Internet growth,” Atallah said. “More Internet users will soon be able to register a domain name that aligns specifically with their vision. The addition of new gTLDs will enlarge the canvas of the domain name space, enabling the expanded registration of succinct, significant domain names.”
How Significant Is It?
This massive expansion of the domain name system represents one of the greatest changes to the Internet since its inception. And this is just the beginning. ICANN said it would continue to delegate new gTLDs on a regular basis.
According to Atallah, the advances would support the next generation of Internet users, many of whom will have more than one device with which to go online. ICANN is essentially creating more online space for this growth, which he said would allow budding companies to better define their online identities while helping brands align more closely with the products or services they provide.
“New communities will emerge based on common interests or geography,” Atallah said. “And, the expanded space allows individuals across the world to experience the Internet entirely in their native languages.”
There’s been plenty of debate about the new domain names. Attorneys at the law firm of K&L Gates are predicting a new wave of cybersquatting, for example. In a press release, a group of attorneys from the firm said, “A virtually limitless number of domain names will very soon open for registration under these new TLDs, with the potential for widespread abusive registrations and cybersquatting."
We caught up with Roger Kay, a principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, to get his take on the new domains. He has publicly pointed out the main reasons buyers should look before leaping into the new Internet domains including the fact that they may cost a lot more. But he told us he still expects companies will do a lot of buying -- much of it defensive.
“Look at the domains that Apple has registered. Mostly they're about keeping Apple's turf pristine. After all, they've already got domains that work fine. Google, Microsoft , and Amazon, on the other hand, are buying up names to use them commercially, and they all are capable of operating name servers, and so being registrars,” Kay said.
“Then, there are outfits like Donut, which are all about exploiting the new name space. Individual firms will end up buying their own domains, mostly for defensive reasons,” he added.