ICANN, the non-profit organization tasked with the responsibility of managing the top-level domain name space, has voted overwhelmingly in favor of opening up top-level domains to established private or public organizations.
The right most label in a domain name, such as .com and .edu, is referred to as the top-level domain (TLD). Currently, there are 22 TLDs, along with about 250 country level domains. Under the new plan, any established organization that wishes to get its own TLD can do so for a sum of $185,000. Applications for the same will be accepted between 12 January 2012 and 12 April 2012.
“Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration”. ICANN believes that the new TLD system will enable organizations to change the way they brand their online presence. “ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.
Opening up of TLD will enable organizations to come up with shorter and more meaningful domain names. However, what it will also do is add a bewildering amount of complexity. Most of the users land on webpages through search engines and other websites; however, a significant number of them still rely on memory to directly key in the URL. Now users will have to memorize dozens of different TLDs along with the domain names. Moreover, most organizations will almost be compelled to get their own TLD due to their basic instinct to protect their brand name. Millions and billions of dollars will be spent by organizations on something that doesn’t really seem to be necessary. Only the future will tell if the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) succeed in actually helping organizations or not. However, one thing is for certain. It will definitely help the domain name registrars and ICANN.
Infographic via CircleID