In the biggest system overhaul since the 1984 “.com” boom, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) okayed on Monday virtually unlimited number of new domain names
While until now, ICANN, the body that oversees internet addresses, has allowed generic suffixes such as “.com”, “.edu”, “.gov” and “.org”, according to the decision taken by the organization yesterday at a meeting in Singapore, between January 2012 to April 2012, ICANN will accept personalized domain name requests for almost any word in any language, including in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts, based on themes as varied as company brands, entertainment and political causes.
Following yesterday’s landmark decision, Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors, said in a media statement “Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age… We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”
Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)
As opposed to the previously available and possibly usable 22 gTLDs, the unlimited number of personalized new gTLDs, ICANN promises in their official press release, will revolutionize the manner in which people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence.
The possibility of internet address names ending with almost any word in any language presents organizations across the globe possibilities of marketing their products, brand, cause or community in never-before sort of ways.
Having come through after six long years of discussion and negotiations within the Internet community, including business groups and governments, the new system will be implemented only towards the end of 2012, and requires an application fee of $185,000, said Adrian Kinderis, chief executive of AusRegistry International and a member of ICANN’s advisory council.
ICANN also indicated having earmarked around $2 million towards assisting applicants from developing countries.
With Kinderis calling this mammoth-scale undertaking “the Olympic bid”, he also points out that registering personalized gTLDs would be “worth it for corporations that have suffered from things like trademark infringement, and can now carve out a niche on the internet.”
The dawn of .anything
“.com” with 89.2 million address registrations in 2010, “.net” with 13.5 million, and “.org” with 8.3 million registrations remain the three so-called “legacy domains”, closely followed by “.info” with 6 million registrations in 2010 and “.biz” with 2 million.
While the three legacy domains were established in 1985 before the formation of ICANN, ICANN, formed in 1998 has approved specific domain names in the past. For example, in 2009, ICANN approved country-specific domain names, such as “.jp” for Japan”, “.ru” for Russia and “.fr” for France.
In another instance, ICANN approved “.xxx” for pornographic websites towards the end of March this year.
With regards to this landmark overhaul in internet policy, market sentiment is that new domain names will include a number of specialized generic business types, such as “.hotel” or “.bank”
And in case there are multiple parties claiming the same domain, according to Kinderis, generic names will be auctioned off to the highest bidders.
Sets up the scene for how the virtual real-estate market will be cashing in huh ?