The introduction of a range of new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) in the coming months will totally change the internet landscape.
With the number of gTLDs to be made available set to increase dramatically, businesses will have numerous opportunities to develop a bigger online presence. For example, film companies could get a web address that ends in .movie, while drinks manufacturers may want a .beer suffix.
Indeed, some massive companies – including Google and Amazon – have applied for numerous new gTLDs as they seek to get a “prestigious slice of cyber-real-estate”, Barrons reports.
The process, which is being overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has been developed over the past five years and initial application evaluation results should begin to be released in late March.
Jon Nevett, a co-founder of Donuts, said of the changes: “You can think of .com like a big downtown department store. We want to compete by building a shopping mall with a bunch of boutiques and a few anchor stores.”
Applying for a new gTLD was not a trivial matter and came at a high cost – $185,000 had to be paid to ICANN. This fee does not guarantee success either, but rather just that the application will be considered.
With over 1900 applications currently in play, businesses need to start preparing now for this radical new landscape. Gretchen Olive, Director of Policy and Industry Affairs at CSC, recommends corporate thinking around the new gTLDs not only be focused on the risk these new suffixes present, but also the how they could provide new digital opportunities. “While there certainly will be an increased likelihood of cybersquatting caused by the launch of hundreds of new, open gTLDs, there will also be great opportunity for companies to register important generic industry terms within these TLDs. Forward-thinking companies will keep a close eye on the roll-out of this program by ICANN and secure keywords they usually pay high premiums for as part of their SEM budgets.”