Generic top level domain names (gTLDs) are set to be most popular with large global brands, it has been suggested.
Companies and organizations are required to pay $185,000 just to apply for a generic domain name, with a further fee of $20,000 per year required upon approval.
Critics of the gTLD regime argue that the high costs – and lack of guarantee over success – will dissuade smaller businesses from applying.
Should more than one party request a particular gTLD, ICANN will be able to auction off the name to the highest bidder.
This is a risk small companies with limited budgets will not be willing to take, leaving large companies with greater cash reserves to compete for generic domain names.
Businesses and organizations have three months to apply for a gTLD, with the application period drawing to a close on April 12th 2012.
It has been over a decade since interested parties were given the opportunity to apply for a new top-level domain, with just 22 – plus country codes – currently in existence.