Monday, June 22, 2009

Major Changes Coming for Domain Extensions

In the internet marketing age if you're a brand you want people to easily find you, right? Well ICANN, Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers, is about to implement a new plan to allow anything to be a web address extension. Across the internet there are very few "extensions" or TLDs, (ie: .com, .net, .us, etc), when the new rules are implemented and application process started, you could see that number jump to millions.

The idea behind the new rules is to allow more options when it comes to creating a domain name. You could replace the generic .com or .net with anything your heart desired. If you own a tattoo shop, you could purchase .ink or .tattoo for roughly $185,000 and its yours, then your website address could be, But with the high price tag, and its yearly renewal fee of $25,000, its more than likely going to be taken advantage of by major corporations to keep their brand names safe. This could also start a bidding war between competitors such as Pepsi or Coca-Cola for a gTLD (generic top level domain) of .soda or .pop or .drink.

ICANN is also taking into consideration trademark protections and a way to "police" some more offensive gTLDs. They won't even begin the application process until those major concerns are dealt with, at the earliest, that may be the end of the year. And according to ICANN they don't foresee the new gTLDs to overtake the most popular extensions such as .com or .net but they see it as a fun way to use the internet and will bring internet competition and marketing to a whole new level.

Some fear its a form of extortion, to force big corporations to spend billions in brand protection, according to the non-profit Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse. Its also believed by some that most corporations would buy the extensions out of necessity and protection rather than to improve business or increase aid or support to their clients. Then these corporations are left paying for something they're not even using.

The other issue ICANN is going to run into is publicity. They will have to promote the new rules heavily because according to Reuters two thirds of businesses are not even aware that these changes are going to happen. This could lead to last minute scrambles to secure ones brand as an extension. With an unlimited amount of domain extensions available, and with less brands as there are possibilities, you can bet there will be competition and many more interesting options when it comes to choosing a domain name, if you can afford it.

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