2012 is set to be a vitally important year for the domain name industry.
Over the next few months, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will introduce its new generic top level domain name (gTLD) regime.
This will give businesses and organizations the opportunity to customize their own domain name suffix, and command a more distinct area of the world wide web.
Opinion on the wisdom of the move is split, with many businesses welcoming the opportunity to promote their brands via their website URL, but advertising and retail groups are adopting a more critical stance.
Some commentators – such as the National Association of Advertisers – believe the introduction of gTLDs is short-sighted, and will incur significant costs while delivering few practical benefits.
But aligned with the increase in the number of internationalized domain names, the launch of gTLDs could change the very fabric of the internet.
With a wider pool of domain names to choose from, could the days of multi-million dollar premium domain name transactions be at an end?
It remains to be seen how ICANN implements its gTLD plan, and how the use of non-Latin script affects the strategic decisions of online organizations.
But either way, 2012 promises to be another intriguing year for the domain name industry and each individual stakeholder.