For over two decades, Internet names and addresses in the US have fallen into two dozen familiar categories such as .com, .org and .edu. But a broadening of generic top-level domains (or gTLDs) is making way for thousands of new Internet extensions.
The expansion, which is being called the greatest Internet-related change since “.com” came out in 1985, is set to revolutionize how businesses choose their website names.
Theo Hnarakis, CEO of Melbourne IT, a professional web hosting service for small businesses, warns, “The Internet’s about to expand in a tenfold way and whether you’re a small business or a big business, you need to start preparing yourself.”
Currently, popular domain names start in the thousands of dollars, limiting the field of names many small business owners can afford to purchase. Because the new endings are based on industry words, name brands, geographic terms and a variety of other classifications, small businesses will soon be able to customize their top-level domain names for maximum differentiation.
For example, a tailor based in New York City might buy the domain name sarahstailoring.nyc. This would not only give her a unique domain name but would also provide the additional advantage of pointing out to potential clients the geographic location of her business.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based nonprofit designated by the government to approve assignments for the new gTLDs, has said that between 300 and 1,000 new gTLDs could be created per year.
The surge of new domain name possibilities created a mad rush as individuals and businesses applied for the right to operate registries for the most popular new domain names, hoping to make huge profits from their sales.
Although “Reveal Day” for the new TLDs occurred in June 2012, it will be months before the impact of this change is felt.
Klein, Karen E. “The Latest Domain-Name Gold Rush.” Businessweek.com. June 4, 2012. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-04/the-latest-domain-name-gold-rush
Lunden, Ingrid. “Icann Applicants for New TLDs Revealed as part of ‘Reveal Day’: The Full List. Tech Crunch. June 13, 2012. http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/13/icann-applicants-for-new-tlds-revealed-the-full-list/
Murphy, Kevin. “ICANN’s overlordship of the internet confirmed again by US gov.” The Register. July 3, 2012. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/03/icann_iana_contract_renewal/
Warren, Christina. “9 Things You Need to Know about ICANN’s New Top Level Domains.” Mashable. June 20, 2011. http://mashable.com/2011/06/20/new-gtld-faq/