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ICANN Changes the Domain Game

Mon, Jun 18th 2012 09:00 am

Last week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) released a list of businesses that have applied for new web suffixes, intended to supplement the standard ".com," ".org," ".gov" and 19 other generics.  This "Reveal Day" exposed a total of 1,930 new generic top-level domain (gTLD) name applications from a variety of companies and organizations such as Amazon, Apple, Macy's, and General Motors.

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that one of the biggest spenders on the list was Google, applying for more than 100 domains, including ".google," ".youtube," ".book," ".ads," and ".app," to the tune of $185,000 per application.

But why spend so much just to apply? 

  • You can control who uses the domain, making it exclusive to your brand or open to others.
  • Brands with their own custom top-level domain promote a greater sense of authenticity.
  • Domain registration, if you choose the right gTLDs, could be extremely profitable.
  • If users embrace the new gTLDs, the domain owners stand to gain considerable influence on web traffic.

After a new domain name is approved, the owner will then enter a test phase before formally launching the domain name. ICANN said it expects the first new address to go live in 2013.

In response to the criticism surrounding the adoption of custom top-level domains, ICANN president, Rod Beckstrom, stated "While ICANN is responsible for setting up the domain names, internet users will ultimately determine the success or failure of each name."

"It's up to consumers to pick the winners and the losers," he said. "It's like the app market on smartphones. Which ones are going to win? The user decides."