Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ICANN to Expand Domain Name System at 185,000 per top level Domain

By Paul Mah

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has approved a controversial top-level domain (TLD) policy that will mark a new era for the domain name as we know it. ICANN says this new generic TLD program, four years in the making, is the biggest change to the Domain Name System ever. In a statement, Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN said "ICANN has opened the Internet's naming system to unleash the global human imagination."

The Internet currently has 22 generic TLDs, which include the familiar .com, .net and .org extensions. The new plan could see hundreds of new extensions added. ICANN will accept applications for new gTLDs from Jan. 12 to April 12 of next year; interested parties should first read the gTLD Applicant Guidebook (pdf). Decisions are expected in 2013.

Registering a new gTLD won't come cheap however, and companies can expect to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the processs. This includes an application fee of $185,000, as well as fairly extensive research and documentation requirements. Nobody is talking about their plans yet, though observers say that many companies are preparing to register their brand names. I expect that some of the first gTLDs to get snapped up will be the likes of .ibm, .dell and .sony.

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