The imminent roll out of more than a thousand new top-level domains has created a headache for small businesses seeking to protect their existing domains, as well as sparking a bidding war among the world’s tech giants for the most attractive TLDs.
The process is being handled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and will ultimately see the number of TLDs increase from 23 to 1,500 over the next few years.
Examples of new top-level domains include .london, .plumbing, .sexy and trademarks such as .google and .bbc.
A few of the new domains have already gone live, others are awaiting final authorisation, while some are still the subject of disputes over which applicant should be granted ownership.
If the disputes cannot be settled amicably then it will ultimately go to a bidding process where the TLD will be handed over to whoever stumps up the most cash. That’s likely to be an expensive purchase, especially considering the fact that the initial application process cost £185,000.
So what’s the point of the new domain names, other than to boost the coiffeurs of ICANN? Well according to the head of ICANN's generic domains division Akram Atallah, it’s all about consumer choice.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published details of the 1,930 applicants for new domains last week.
The list revealed a surprising number of well-known businesses vying for both branded and generic top-level domains (TLDs), including .bbc, .amazon and .music.
Google has been busy bidding for no fewer than 101 TLDs, while Amazon has applied for 76. At $185,000 for each application it isn’t a cheap process, so Google clearly feels that big things lie ahead for .are and .boo.
One of the most popular domains is .app for which ICANN received 13 applications.
So how will ICANN allocate the new TLDs and why would the BBC want to go through the painstaking effort of migrating its hugely popular site to an entirely new domain?
Afilias has been providing TLD registry services and DNS solutions since 2001, so to find out more about the new round of applications I spoke to CMO Roland LaPlante...