Get Ready for New Dots Domains in 2014!
Back in 2011 when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the use of new generic Top Level Domains (gNew Dot) for the World Wide Web, it set into motion one of the biggest changes to the Internet’s core addressing system ever. Starting as early as this September, Internet users will begin seeing the first affects of that change in the form of new Web address extensions. In addition to the familiar Top Level Domains such as .com, .net, .org and .gov, users will begin seeing hundreds of websites using new domain names such as ‘.auto’, ‘.baby’, ‘.accountant’, ‘.art’, ‘.music’ and ‘.hotel’. Over the next two years, ICAN is expected to introduce as many as 1,400 such’ New Dots’, or over 10 per week, in numerous categories such as cities, books, banks, lifestyles, interests, leisure, shopping and technology. For the first time, ICANN will also permit Top Level Domains that use non-Latin characters such as Chinese, Arabic and Cyrillic.
Unprecedented Expansion of New Dots in 2014
The move to expand the existing assortment of Top Level Domains and country specific New Dots is part of an effort by ICANN to give businesses and other website owners more freedom and flexibility to choose domain names. The domain name system is the Internet’s core addressing system. It offers a way to associate the name of a website, such as Google.com, to the corresponding numerical Internet Protocol (IP) address that describes the web site’s precise location on the Internet. The Domain Name System has made it possible for Internet users to navigate the Web using a web site’s name (www.google.com) instead of an all-numerical IP address (184.108.40.206). The suffix at the end of a domain name, like .com, or .net, refers to the Top Level Domain to which the website belongs. So, a website that ends with a .com is usually a business, one that ends with a .edu is an educational institution while a .org is usually a non-profit organization. Currently, the ICANN uses a list of 22 New Dots and about 270 country-specific domains to categorize websites. With the proposed address system expansion, there will be hundreds of similar New Dots very soon. The ICANN, which charges a $185,000 fee for a new New Dot, has already received close to 2,000 applications from organizations eager to sign up for a new domain.
The New Top Level Domains, or the New Dots as they are sometimes referred to, promise massive changes to the World Wide Web. Businesses within a specific industry, like retailers for instance, would be able to use a ‘.retail’ suffix to brand themselves better or identify themselves on the web in a more localized manner than a generic suffix like .com would allow, With more than 50,000 new websites springing up on the Web every single day, companies are also increasingly hard pressed to find a suitable domain name for their business. According to ICANN, there are close to 104 million web sites that are currently registered under the .com domain. The sheer number of dotcom sithas often made it very expensive for companies to register domains to promote their brand. Companies often have to acquire a domain name they want from a secondary source. Bank of America for instance, is rumored to have paid a stunning $3 million to acquire the rights to loans.com. Similarly, diamonds.com is reported to have cost over $7.5 million while the owners of beer.com paid $7 million for the privilege of registering the domain in their name.
Under the new expanded system, businesses will be able to own and manage their own New Dot space. As a result they will have an almost unlimited ability to select targeted domain names and use them at a substantially lower cost than currently possible. Internet marketers expect that New Dots will open up a whole new set of premium domain names that businesses can use for better product branding, better customer communication and higher conversion rates. A fully-owned New Dot for instance will allow businesses to more easily create separate URLs for each of their products while also linking them all back to the master brand.
New New Dots could also bring innovation and new applications especially in the area of user authentication and security. A Top Level Domain for banks for instance, could implement authentication controls that are specific to the financial services industry while a New Dot for a payment system could provide more secure transaction processing services. Owners of the new New Dots could also sell portions of their domain space through second-level domain registrations. As part of the expanded system, ICANN has also crafted new rules an established a new Trademark Clearinghouse that would allow trademark and copyright owners the first shot at claiming their brand names on new New Dots. The process is designed to mitigate the risk of cybersquatting and to allow brand owners access to premium domains without having to worry about someone else having registered the domain first.
Consumer Benefits of New Dots
Internet users too could see some significant benefits once they get past the initial confusion that is likely to be spawned by the introduction of hundreds of new Top Level Domains. Search engines like Google have not yet said how they intend to handle the new Top Level Domains so there is some uncertainly over how search will be impacted. However, the premise is that Internet searches for content within specific domains could become more targeted and efficient. If the new domains are rolled out right, users could find it easier to find quality content and be able to do far more targeted searches than possible today. Analysts predict that as consumers come to terms with the new New Dots, there could be an explosion of niche search engines designed for specific top-level domains. Such search engines could help users narrowly focus their searches to the domain of their interest and will let them do searches based on factors like geography, location tags and community interest. New Dots will also allow companies to create fully branded personalized pages and customized portals for individual customers. Such personalization is likely to enable better interaction between consumers and businesses and will likely also permit delivery of highly targeted content to consumers.