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gTLDs or generic top-level domains

Top-level domain (TLD) is one of the domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of theInternet.
gTLDs or generic top-level domains is a new category of top-level domains(TLDs) maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).  These gTLDs include names such as .money, .rentals, .sport, .marketing, .bike, .music, etc..

New gTLD Domain Extensions

So far, over 175 new gTLDs  have been delegated, as announced in ICANN website (you can check out the latest delegated strings here).  They estimate that over 1,300 new names or “strings” might become available in the next few years. The trademark protection worries raised by this explosive expansion of new Internet domain names are already turning into a nightmare. .pics, .photo, .link, .gift, .guitars, and .buzz will be available on a first come first served basis from 5pm today, while .holiday and .marketing will be available for immediate purchase from 5pm tomorrow (16 April). .photo is particularly significant because it is the first time that a singular and plural version of a new gTLD will be live. .photos is already one of the most popular new gTLD. .guru is still proving the most popular. Finally, there is another batch of gTLDs to come on 17 April. .pink, .red, .kim, .shiksha and .blue will all be available first come first served from 5pm on Thursday. According to ICANN, any person, anywhere in the world, could request the creation and operation of a new gTLD registry. But who did, actually, applied?

gTLD Registry Applicants

Of the technology giants, Google has filed for 101 new gTLD strings, Amazon comes 2nd with 76 strings, and Microsoft has filed for 11. Of the more specialized domain name companies, the following have applied for a significant number of new gTLDs: Donuts co-founded by Paul Stahura, has the most applications submitting 307 gTLDs Top Level Domains Holding (TLDH) led by Fred Krueger have applied for 92 gTLDs. Famous Four Media, co-founded by Iain Roache and Geir Rasmussen, have filed for 57 gTLDs. Uniregistry headed by its Managing Director Frank Schilling is pursuing 54 gTLDs. Radix Registry led by its CEO Bhavin Turakhia has filed for 31 gTLDs. United TLD Holdco led by Richard Rosenblatt have filed for 26 applications to the new gTLD system.

newdomains

Before an open domain reaches general availability, there will be two crucial periods, called “sunrise” and “landrush”. The Sunrise period is often a 30 day (or longer) phase during which trademark owners can purchase domain names before they are offered to the general public.  The landrush period is defined by ICANN as the time between the Sunrise Period and General availability during which applications for a domain name may be received from any interested eligible party. The application process has, predictably, been mired in controversy. “A number of organisations didn’t apply in the spirit of the programme, and applied for what’s known as ‘closed generics’,” says Stuart Fuller, director of commercial operations and communications at corporate domain-name management firm, NetNames in . This means in addition to applying for their own company names, some firms have applied to close off non-brand-specific domain names, too. “Amazon, Google and L’Orèal all applied for generic terms. L’Orèal applied for .hair, Amazon applied for .book. There’s been a huge uproar.”

Are these  gTLDs set your business apart?

“If these new gTLDs are helpful for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), then we must remember that spammers will quickly abuse them”, says Adam Grunwerg, the director of Searchable Online Marketing. Extensions can quickly become tainted and promoted for spam purposes, as it happened before with the .info extension. According to Gruwerg, in this environment, it’s the trusted domain extensions such as .com and ccTLD (country code top-level domain), such as co.uk or .pt,  that will be the biggest winners. Another argument is that branding a site on a new extension requires double the effort. It might not be user friendly, specially in a “Don’t Make me Think” point of view. Esther Dyson, the founding chairperson of ICANN, who is also an opponent of the program, wrote that this expansion “will create jobs [for lawyers, marketers and others] but little extra value.” What do you think?

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