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.