See the List of all New Domains coming online starting in 2013
What is a Top Level Domain?
A top level domain is the ending of your website address, for example: .COM, or CO.UK. The trouble is, most of the good top level domain names have gone. Research by Verisign Inc, discovered that there were almost a quarter of a billion registered domain names by 2012. Many of these websites are not actually in use, they were registered and parked by people who hope to re-sell them to legitimate businesses for a small fortune.
Local businesses will be able to benefit from city and geographical domain extensions such as .SCOT, .NYC and .TOKYO. Special interest domain names will also be available such as .SPORT, ART and .MUSIC. So by the late 2013/early 2014 there will be an abundance of domain name choices available and some will be relevant to your business.
What Does ICANN Do?
ICANN is a non-profit organization and one of their roles is to enable competition and diversity online. They are also responsible for changing url numbers – like 231.654.567.43 – into names, such as amazon.com, and ensuring the system operates safely and securely on a global scale. If this system was not available, it would be impossible to remember website addresses.
After six years of discussions, ICANN, the domain name management system organization has approved the release of a huge number of top level domain names. So instead of being stuck with long domain names that are difficult to remember, businesses will now have a huge choice of domain names to use for their websites.
If This is Such a Great Thing Why Did They Wait Until Now?
The release of the new top level domains has been in the pipeline for 6 years. To ensure that this is all done fairly, ICANN have a Nominating Committee (Nomcom). This makes a lot of sense as it means that every geographic area, and other interested parties are represented on the committee. Unfortunately with a committee this size, it also takes a long time to reach a universal agreement that everyone is happy with.
In addition to members from each global geographic area, Nomcom is comprised of GAC (Government Advisory Committee) and various other members. These repesentatives include Registrars, Internet Service Providers, a group representing small businesses and a group representing large businesses and brand holders. There are various other groups, including sub-committees, who can make decisions when they believe there is a conflict of interest.
Because so many groups of people were involved, and each were keen to protect the interests of the areas they represent, it took years before an agreement was reached on the best way to deal with the new top level domains.
Finally businesses, organizations and communities will have access to excellent domain names by late 2013/early 2014.
How Will This Benefit Your Business?
Almost a quarter of a billion domain names are already registered. Many are not in use, but are simply parked by people hoping to sell the domains for a huge profit. This means it is virtually impossible to get a memorable and relevant .COM domain name.
The new top level domain names are the way forward for the internet. The old .COM domain names have no meaning, whereas internet users will identify with the new domains and recognise them when they are searching for what they want. Names like .MUSIC, .SPORT, .NYC and .SHOP have far more meaning and searchers will easily be able to recognise what your business does, just by looking at the URL.