New generic top-level domains are set to shake-up the way businesses pick names for their websites. We explain how they work
The starting gun has been fired on the biggest land grab in the history of the web. Beginning today, thousands of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will be unleashed, giving businesses the opportunity to be more creative with their website addresses.
No longer will businesses be restricted to .co.uk, .com or the slightly more esoteric likes of .net or .tv. Instead, they’ll be able to put their brand name in front of gTLDs such as .play, .secure, or .app.
For a brand-holder, it’s an absolute nightmare – knowing when to apply, how many to apply for
They might choose to “dot move”, allowing the insurance company Claims Direct to switch from www.claimsdirect.co.uk to simply claims.direct, for example. They’ll also have to keep a close eye out for their brands being tarnished on more derogatory domains such as .sucks and .adult, both of which are in the initial batch of gTLDs to be released in the coming months.
Although the plan to release these gTLDs has been on the table for many years, awareness is still low. Many businesses may switch on just in time to find that the domains they crave have already gone. We’re going to give you a heads-up on the new gTLDs to make sure you’re not caught out by this fundamental shift in the way websites are labelled.
The new gTLD system
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. If like Barclays, Del Monte or Hermès, you liked the idea of landing your own top-level domain name, you’re already too late – for the initial batch of releases, at least. Although considering you’d need $185,000, alongside a host of expensive infrastructure requirements, it’s unlikely most SMBs could afford to get involved in the first place. This doesn’t mean you should write off all chance of landing a prestigious new domain name, however.
There are three main types of gTLD being released: closed, restricted and open. Most closed registrations are brand extensions, where a company has bought its own name and plans to use it for its own purposes internally (reviews.pcpro, for example). Restricted domains are only open to applicants who meet a certain criteria – companies applying for a .london domain will have to be based in the city, for example. Open domains will accept applications from anyone, in much the same way anyone can buy a .com domain today… More…adapted from pcpro.co.uk