What are the new top level domains?
Over the next three years, ICANN will be releasing more than 700 new domain extensions that will redefine the Internet landscape, covering topics like technology, industry, location and hobby. The new TLD’s will offer vast opportunities for businesses venturing on the Web, as well as those looking to further develop their online reputation. Improved branding and targeted reach is all attainable for businesses in the soon-to-be less crowded Internet.
Why are new top level domains important?
Today, the most popular domain extension is .com and this is in large part due to consumers assuming this domain when searching a business’s URL on the Web. Unfortunately, the large demand and increasingly low supply of .com domains makes acquiring a desired business domain name difficult.
What are the branding benefits of the new top level domains?
As the opportunities for registering .com domain names becomes more and more diluted, businesses may become overly creative in the selection process. Often times, if the primary business name is already taken, they refer to the company slogan or unusual variations – wording that is unfamiliar to customers or the general public. Perhaps one of the most important elements of successful branding on the Web is consistency and relevancy. Therefore, the wide range of new domain extensions will give businesses the opportunity to execute their brand strategy starting with the virtual address.
Furthermore, choosing a domain name specific to the industry will help communicate your expertise, location or skills to site visitors. For example, a pizzeria in New York City should consider registering a domain name with a .restaurant, .pizza or even .nyc top level domain. The domain should then be communicated and carried throughout all marketing materials and online platforms which they are present on.
What are the most popular new top level domains and how can I stay updated?
In July 2013, 1&1 Internet introduced its pre-reservation portal (www.1and1.com/new-top-level-domains) to help prepare professionals and consumers with the tools needed for the launch. People can express their interest in registering one of these new domains and stay fully informed throughout the process. Based on the pre-reservation rates, the ten most popular top level domains are .web, .inc, .blog, .online, .shop, .news, .app, .tech, .site, and .mobile.
How can the new top level domains help prevent against cybersquatting?
Cybersquatting refers to the act of individuals registering domains with the likeliness or similarity to existing businesses or public figures. They use these domains to negatively affect that business’s online image or attempt to resell the domains to the business for a high personal profit. Cybersquatting can often result in damage to a brand’s online reputation. Therefore, building an extensive domain portfolio for a business can help protect against trademark infringements which can very taxing and damaging to professional success. With the new top level domains, businesses can personally register all domains related to their business to protect their online identity and maintain full control over what information is published and shared online.
Will the new top level domains affect my online visibility?
Yes. In fact, popular search engines like Google have already begun to detail how their algorithms will be adjusted so new TLDs will index as highly as regular domain endings like .com. Since many resources place a large emphasis on quality content of websites when producing search results, the domain endings will be an important step in helping to communicate the website’s purpose and subjects.
When will the new top level domains be launched?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) expects that the new top level domains will begin to be introduced to the public as early as the end of 2013. While the new names will not be released all at once, they will enter the market a few at a time.
How does the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) determine who will be the registry for each new top level domain?
Practically any corporation or organization that fulfills certain requirements is eligible to apply to be a registry for the TLD of its choice. The specific requirements (concerning finances, technical realization and policy) and the application process were defined by ICANN in 2012’s Applicant Guidebook.
In March of 2013, ICANN started publishing the results from their initial evaluation of applications. If the evaluation is positive, the applying corporation or organization can proceed to contracting. After signing a contract with ICANN, it can start its work as a new registry. To prevent this from happening all at once, ICANN has given out random prioritization numbers to each application. The organization plans to contract around 20 applicants per week. For this reason, TLDs with higher prioritization numbers will most likely enter the market in one and a half to two years.
However, not all applications will be a smooth process. ICANN has devised a complex system of objections and dispute resolutions. For example, trademark owners have the possibility to object to a certain new TLD string (a Legal Rights Objection). Other reasons for objections include limited public interest, the possibility of confusion with an already existing TLD and objections made by a community to be targeted by a new TLD. Overall, ICANN has recorded 270 of these objections.
If several parties applied for a new TLD, ICANN encourages a peaceful resolution. Applicants might for instance agree on joint ventures and consider filing an application together. As a last resort of solving these types of conflicts, ICANN plans to hold auctions for new TLD strings.
How are registrars determined?
As soon as the new TLD has been delegated to an applicant and the contracting between ICANN and the new registry has been successful, the registry can start contracting registrars such as 1&1 Internet. These registrars can then offer the new TLDs to their customers, but not every new TLD will be available on the open market. Corporations and organizations also have the possibility to only use the new TLDs for themselves.
How can trademark owners keep their property safe?
ICANN worked hard to create new procedures to make protecting trademarks easier for companies of all sizes. Each domain will have formal sunrise and land-rush phases in which copyright holders can submit their applications for acceptance.
Trademark protection mechanisms are also in place with the registries. For example, within the first 90 days of a domain launch, ICANN requires registries to supply a Trademark Claims Period, in which certified trademark holders will be notified of any attempts to register their names – allowing them forewarning of any potential issue.
Photo Credit: © moonrun – Fotolia.com