ICANN new domain name applications are now being accepted. The topic of new generic top level domains has been a hot topic of discussion for quite some time. Some still feel that the issue has not be investigated completely and are not sure ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) should even be moving forward, nonetheless, ICANN is accepting applications and has been since mid January. ICANN reports that more than 100 groups have submitted applications thus far.
Currently there are only 22 generic top level domains (gTLD) available including .com, gov. .edu, etc. ICANN’s decision to expand this offering to include virtually any word, including those with non-Latin characters (Arabic, Chinese, etc), as part of the gTLD is a hotly debated topic. The new domain name application process can be completed online through a system developed by ICANN and new domain name applications will be accepted through the online system until March 29th, 2012. Each applicant can apply for up to 50 new generic top-level domains but each name applied for comes with a hefty price tag of $185,000! In an effort to allow developing countries the opportunity to apply, financial assistance is available for groups that qualify. Once all the applications are received ICANN will have the huge responsibility of determining the financial and operational ability to operate the new domain name registry.
So why are the ICANN new domain name applications a big deal and why wouldn’t someone want them? First off, this is opening up the Internet to a whole new world, so to speak. Anything from .car to .pizza or anything one can imagine is a possible new gTLD. This seems like a great option because all too often someone goes to register a desired domain name only to find the best domain name for his business is unavailable, sometimes a suitable alternative is available like myname.net when myname.com was not available. Having a very specific domain name that is related to your keywords and/or business is critical for search engine ranking, website optimization, and for many other reasons. However, this can also cause problems because big companies are already having to purchase multiple domains just to keep others from creating a website with the same or very similar names to pick up business or scam people that type in the wrong address. Most often if someone doesn’t know the exact domain they will type the company name and then .com because this is the most common top level domain name. But if someone else registered and created a website with the same company name at .net; someone may happen upon this website unintentionally. Other problems like common misspellings, such as someone registering htomail.com, knowing that many people mistype the address when in a hurry, are taking advantage of this to scam users.
While there are copyright and trademark laws that protect a company’s name, it is not always easy to enforce these laws, especially in an online community that spans the world where the laws and regulations are not always the same. In some ways these new domains will help a company or industry create a more targeted domain, something like ford.car is relevant but if another option is ford.truck or ford.cars or even buy.ford, as you can see the possibilities become endless and the company is left with no way to make sure that every possible domain is going to direct website traffic to the website they want. Obviously, there are still a lot of details to be worked out and a lot of questions being asked, but ICANN assures the online community that all of these issues will be addressed and that they will proceed with a great deal of caution and care to prevent as many problems as possible.
For those that miss this first round of ICANN new domain name applications, ICANN Is already saying the will have another round of domain name applications that will be accepted in the future. Naturally, ICANN is not giving a set time for this, or even a set time for when the approved new generic top level domains will be available, although speculations are that it could be at least a year from the time they stop taking new domain name applications. We will be keeping an eye on this issue as things progress and keep you updated on the latest. To register a domain name now, we recommend GoDaddy domains.