Soon over 700 new domain extensions will be available. Instead of the traditional .com, businesses and individuals will be able to register domain names with extensions like .web, .shop, .restaurant, .hotel, and many more. This provides new opportunities for businesses and will change the internet landscape for the better. The process to launch new Top-Level domains (TLDs) has been in movement for years; here we’ll summarize some of the key milestones.
ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the governing body responsible for developing programs and ensuring that all regulations are followed in regards to new and existing domains and the entire domain name system around the world. ICANN first identified the need for new TLDs and began working on a development process in 2005.
The development process continued for over two years. In that time ICANN staying true to its multi-stakeholder model, held discussions with thought leaders, decision makers, and other interested stakeholders from all areas of the internet community – including governments, societies, and technology enthusiasts. Their goal was to combine the feedback from all influencers to create specific policy recommendations for moving forward with the roll-out of new TLDs.
After much deliberation, ICANN adopted 19 policy recommendations in 2008. This marked a significant milestone on the way to launching new TLDs because it allowed for a structured approach for the continuation of the development process. The policies also laid the ground-work necessary to create the first draft versions of the Applicant Guidebook.
Much like the first policies, drafts of the Applicant Guidebook were reviewed by key stakeholders to ensure a cohesive vision was crafted. After all questions and needs of the various communities were addressed, the Guidebook was approved in 2011. At this point, the New TLD Program was finally able to begin. Entities were permitted to apply as registries for new TLDs as of January 2012.
In less than one year, over 1,900 applications were received for new TLDs. ICANN then worked to prioritize the applications for evaluation and processing throughout the next phases of the launch process. Applicants faced string contention, meaning multiple companies applied for the exact same TLD, and other objections on the path to approval, which is still on-going. It’s not yet known precisely when each new TLD will be available to purchase – the roll-out is expected to start in mid-January 2014 and continue over the next few years. Even though there are still some milestones to pass before the new TLDs are fully launched, it is possible to choose from over 700 new TLDs and pre-reserve domain names with 1&1 for free, without obligation.
When new TLDs are approved, and pricing plus terms and conditions are established, it will be possible to pre-register specific domain names. Allowing for a speedy registration as soon as the domain is available, pre-registrants provide payment information and enter a binding agreement to ensure their desired domain is awarded. Currently, pre-registration is available for 30 new TLDs:
Stay up-to-date about developments in the new TLD process, pre-register and pre-reserve new domain names at http://www.1and1.com/new-top-level-domains. As a recognized partner of ICANN with over 20 years of experience in the domain industry, 1&1 is well placed to help customers obtain their desired domain and currently holds over 4 million pre-reservations for new TLDs.
Photo Credit: ©istockphoto.com/alxpin