New Level of Domain Names on Their Way!

ICANN are now taking applications for top level domain names linked to brands. Starting in 2013 we will see a lot of new domain extensions, but what does this mean for the casual web surfer and the online entrepreneur?

If you’ve ever been worried that all the good web domains are taken then you might be wishing that they’d introduce some new top level domains. There are millions if not billions of websites out there on the net, all with different URLs, and half of them are to be honest a ‘waste of internet’. Then on top of that if you add in all of the cybersquatters and you have a lot of addresses that could be put to better use.

Well then the good news is that the internet is possibly about to be cracked wide open with a whole plethora of new ‘top level domains’. But that will have a lot more implications than just creating more possible domains, as we will see here.

 

What’s a Top Level Domain?

 

Top level domains are the letters that come after the ‘dot’ in your web domain. So ‘.com’ or ‘.gov’. These often denote something about that website, and they also help to lend the domain credibility or easy memorability.

Many of the desirable and popular domain names have all been snapped up, so you’d be paying an awful lot of money and relying on a lot of luck to get ‘shop.com’ or ‘business.com’ – in fact mostly all of the ‘four letter’ domains have already been taken and are worth quite a lot of cash. Illustrating this, ‘cybersquatters’ are people who wait until a new top level domain becomes available, or watch the news avidly and then buy up the domains that are likely to become popular. When ‘org’ became available you can bet there were some cybersquatters quickly buying up ‘football.org’ etc. Likewise if a new singer was coming out called Bob Dorway then you could be sure that Bobdorway.com, .org, .co.uk etc would all be gone pretty soon. Then they just wait for Bob Dorway’s agents to come knocking…

 

Brands as Domains

 

But now ICANN, the internet governing body, has made it possible for brands to be used as domains. So Tesco could have Store.Tesco (or Tesco.Tesco?? Or Tes.Co?), and more generic TLDs could be used as well such as ‘.shop’ or ‘.film’. This hugely opens up the possible number of domain names means that companies are a lot freer again to choose the domain they want.

At the same time though this also opens the way for more cybersquatting – though some measures have been put in place to slow them down such as the fact that the application process on its own is $185,000, and the fact that you have to be able to demonstrate a legitimate claim to that domain extension (such as a business plan revolving around it). However that said you’re already supposed to be able to demonstrate such legitimate claims but it’s fairly easy to come up with some hashed out business strategy and it’s very hard to say what does and doesn’t constitute a ‘legitimate claim’ – particularly for the generic domains like ‘shop’ where we can expect to see heavy bidding.

If you do have a legitimate claim and you want one of these new domain extensions then get moving – the application process has already begun and will culminate on 12th April.

 

What Does This Mean for the Rest of Us?

 

So what does it mean for the rest of us who are Tesco? Well for surfing the web it means more addresses, though many of these will be a lot more memorable. And with that some companies might start trying to strengthen the online presence of their brand, so expect to see some vamped up websites and some heavy advertizing.

For web entrepreneurs it of course means new opportunities to help strengthen your brand and invest in some new domains. Are you considering applying? How might you make use of this and what do you expect to see as a result?

Jeet loves to write articles on SEO and technology as passion. He also owns link building company named GetLinks pro. Follow Jeet on twitter @GetLinksPro.

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