Just got to hear about this and couldn't keep quiet. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved sometime ago, the use of new “top-level domains.” ICANN is the non-profit organization that regulates domain names on the Internet). These domains better known as custom domains and classified under the Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) group, will soon come into use next year, 2012.
But, What Is A Top Level Domain?
In case you don't understand what a top level domain (TLD) means you can visit the ICANN official site for some techie speak! Simply put a top level domain is the part of the URL which tells you what exactly a site is all about. It is the part of the url that comes after the "." in the Web address. For example, .com, .edu, and more. Presently the most popular of these top level domains are:
.com - commercial domains, these have the largest presence on the Web
.org - organization, can be any type of organization
.gov - government agency, usually federal, but can be state
.edu - educational institution
.net - Internet Service Provider or network
Classification of Top Level Domains (TLDs)
Top level domains (TLDs) are kind of divided into two groups, restricted and unrestricted TLDs. Under the unrestricted group anyone can register a domain on them. For example, TLDs like .com, .org, .net fall into this group.
For the restricted TLDs, you need to apply for the domain under specific guidelines and most of them are related to specific countries or government institutions e.g:
.gov - for U.S. government sites
.mil - for U.S. military sites
.asia - for Asian sites
Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)
The new custom domains about being introduced in 2012 are in the group of Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) which are top-level domains that are not related to any specific country or institution. They fall into the group of unrestricted gTLDs like:
What this means is come 2012, businesses and individuals who so desire can now have their own ".whatever" suffixes instead of what we have today like .com, .biz, .info, .net etc.
For example, if I want a custom domain name as a business offering seo services, I can decide to go for something like "www.chadrack.seoexpert"!
Now, wait for this, if you want one of those custom domains you should be ready to dole out at least $185,000!
$185,000 for a Domain?
That really is the part that is of interest to me. A few things have been going through my mind.
1. What is in these custom top-level domains (gTLDs) that they should attract so much? Or,
2. Is The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) trying to upstage the level playing ground that all of us have come to cherish about the internet?
What Will Be The Effect On The Ordinary Consumers And Internet Users?
You know one of the good things that the internet has done for the small business entrepreneur is that you could get your business online without digging too deep into your pocket or business coffers. This is because getting a domain name and a webhosting account and then setting up your business website most times cost next to nothing. But come to think of it, is introducing these new gTLDs not upturning that?
Ok, of course the old domain suffixes - .com, .net, .org etc - are still there for you and I, but don't you think there may definitely be some advantages that these new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will have over the old dotcoms? Or do you think that those huge dollar investment is for nothing!
Or maybe all of this is some hoax that ICANN is trying to push at their target audience – those high-worth corporations and individuals. I think this is the stand of Lauren who wrote on his blog:
"The Shame on the Internet: ICANN Votes to Massively Enrich the Domain-Industrial Complex”
As expected, ICANN has voted overwhelmingly to approve their disgraceful plan for a vast increase in generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
Some observers are expecting hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent quickly in the resulting environment, thanks to the associated "gold rush" and "buy protection for your brand" mentalities being explicitly promoted.
I suspect that is a lowball estimate. I believe we may see billions of dollars being wasted in ICANN's new gigantic gTLD "domain name space" -- mostly from firms falsely hoodwinked into thinking that new domain names will be their paths to Internet riches, and from firms trying to protect their names in this vastly expanded space, ripe for abuses.
This massive money flow will funnel overwhelmingly directly to the relatively few entities, mainly registries, registrars, and ICANN itself, at the top of the "domain-industrial complex" pyramid.
The negative impacts of this fiasco on ordinary consumers and Internet users will ultimately become all too clear, as the resulting effects of massively increased cybersquatting, spammers, and phishing take hold." (Emphasis are mine!).
Of course, it is clear that ICANN knows its target group. What I can say right now is, let's wait and see what comes out of this. But some of the questions that we need to ask are, will this ultimately change the ways things are done online? Indeed some are of the view that the new Top-Level Domain Names will make the customer-brand connection even stronger. But for all of these we can say; only time will tell.
Any way, if you desire to have your own custom domain, you can send in your application right now as ICANN has formally opened the doors to receive applications. Visit the ICANN official website here for the details.
So let’s have your views on this: Will you readily dole out $185,000 for a domain name? What do you see in these new generic top-level domains (gTLDs)?
By the way, a +1 or a tweet will be appreciated. Just asking!