What is a gTLD? It is a Generic Top Level Domain. It’s what comes after the dot in your url. In Canada, we mainly use the .ca, but very common are also the .com, .org, and .net.
Initially, there were only a few options to chose from, but between 2001 and 2011, new selections were introduced. Among those were .tv, .info, .name and .xxx. As of today, excluding the countries gTLDs, there are 22 extensions that can be registered through an accredited registrar.
But BIG change is about to happen. This change will cause us to experience a major dramatic switch in the way we view and use the internet as business owners or as a end-users.
In 2011, ICANN ( internet corporation for assigned names and numbers) opened the floor to the possibility of having endless gTLDs. In January 2012, they started accepting new applications. Very soon, you will see new one popping out everywhere. With hundreds, if not thousands of new possible combinations, you will now be able to show exactly what your business is all about simply by choosing the gTLD that pertains to it. For example, let’s say you are a cab company and the name of your business is “Speedy’s”. If someone sees the name “Speedys.com”, they might think you are a delivery service or a number of other things. However, if that person sees “speedys.taxi” on your business card, they will immediately know you are a cab company. With the new gTLDs, the extention .taxi will become available.
Similarly, a lawyer could now register a .lawyer or a .law, a newspaper could register a .media, a flower shop could register a .florist. There are unlimited combinations that could be used. A complete list of proposed extensions can be found here: http://www.newtldlist.com.
But this is not the only change.
Any individual or business can submit a request to ICANN for any gTLD although it is a hefty purchase. “The costs of applying for and launching a new gTLD are prohibitively high,” said Steve Jones, COO and Co-Founder of Domainate. “The fee to apply for an extension is $185,000 and if others apply for the same extension, you might end up paying a lot more to win the ensuing auction for it.” The fees don’t stop there.
“If your application is approved, you will have build the infrastructure to handle running the extension, which costs a minimum of $250,000 per year and have a ‘Continued Operations Instrument’ deposit of $18,000 to $300,000 on file with ICANN,” Steve explained. “Ongoing costs include a $25,000 annual fee to ICANN plus an additional $0.25 per year per domain if you register out over 50,000 domains, and marketing the new TLD can put the total cost for a new TLD into the millions.”
Look at the bright side, as the new owner of a gTLD, you will be owning a piece of the Internet landscape! You will be able to decide to keep all of the possible combinations of your new gTLD to yourself, killing the possibilities for your competitors to use them–think starbucks.coffee or mcdonalds.burgers–or decide to sell them at a high profit. This can be a good idea if you are a brand, a city or simply a visionary. I can see Top Level Domains such as .family, .church, or .lawyer do very well.
Take an example close to home.
The city of Cornwall should register the .cornwall and use it for all its departments. You would have “economicdevelopment.cornwall”, “taxes.cornwall”, “city.cornwall” and so on so forth. But the city could also turn around and sell domains to any individual or business who wants a .cornwall, creating additional income. We could end up seeing things like “liftoff.cornwall”, “seeker.cornwall”, “schnitzels.cornwall”. This could potentially help businesses achieve good search rankings in local searches as well, although nobody really knows how all these new gTLDs will affect search engine rankings just yet.
As a both a web designer and a geek, I will be utterly interested to see how the variety of new top level domains will impact the world wide web as we now know it. Will it be the next big-dot-thing?
If you want more information on the new TLDs, or want to setup a watch list on a domain name you would like to register, do not hesitate to contact me. [email protected]
Webinista and Visual Dazzler, Julia is a well established Entrepreneur who has been part of the web sphere for more than 18 years. Her marketing firm, VersaCore Tech Designs, is a respectable business which services more than 150 clients in the Cornwall, Montreal and Ottawa corridor. Julia co-owns the Local Seeker and the Local Herald Newspapers, both community newspapers and strong advocates of the arts and culture community. Wife of Writer and Political Activist John Lucio and mother of 5, Julia’s main background is in Arts and Literature as well as programing. Julia sits on the board of directors of the Cornwall Business Network and is highly involved in her community. She can be reached at [email protected].