On June 20, 2011 Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board members approved to launch new generic top-level domain names. You can see the announcement on the ICANN website here.
A generic top-level domain is the ending of a domain, for example .com and .mobi are generic top-level domains. There are already a variety of generic top-level domains, which you can find a list of them here.
This is one of the biggest changes on the internet as it opens the doors for domains ending in almost whatever you can dream of, you will soon be allowed to choose from more than just your ordinary .com’s, .net’s and others generic domain endings. Some useful examples we could think of are .apple, .microsoft, .bank, .invest, .almostwhateveryouwant, and even such names in other languages!
What Does this Mean to You?
This is not an immediate change, it is a change that will start over the next few years by ICANN as they accept and approve applications. This opening is going to allow for a creative internet world where companies can expand on marketing their brand. Companies will be given the opportunity to be unique with their branding, having their website end in whatever they feel fit, and they feel is worth the price. In a few years, you might be able to purchase www.yourname.yourbusinesstype rather than www.yourname.com.
It is a nice feature for companies wanting to expand on their online presence, but it sure does not come at an easy price. Top-level domain applications are starting at a hefty $185,000 with a $25,00 fee per year.
Applications will start being accepted in January of 2012, if you are interested, go check out the new generic top-level domains page on the ICANN website for more information.
Some companies might actually be thrown back by the new need to purchase even more domains to keep up with the competition, and keep competitors from wrongfully using their name. It will be an interesting change on the internet to keep an eye on.
What are your thoughts about this change? Do you think it will change things significantly? Or is it a simple evolution?