The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board has voted to dramatically increase the number of Internet domain name endings--generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)--from the current 22, which includes such familiar domains as .com, .org and .net" to a unlimited number of new Top Level Domains in any language or script." So, beginning in 2012, you can look "forward" to such TLDs as .missamercia, .gameofthrones, or .superbowl.
In a statement, Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN. Said, "We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind." Gag me now! Beckstrom also claimed that these "New gTLDs will change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organizations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways."
Oh please. Get over yourselves. The only point in opening the doors to an endless number of gTLDs is to increase the profits for domain name registrars (DNR). For them, this will prove a license to print money. For businesses, who must protect their trademarks it will be a pain-in-the rump and some additional expense. I can already see people getting ready to grab the TLD ".cola" and waiting to charge Coke and Pepsi or the "privilege" of registering "coke.cola" and "pepsi.cola."
ICANN is still working out the details on how DNRs can apply for these new TLDs. Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012. To get a piece of the TLD business, you'll need to be an already established DNR and have a spare $185,000 to open your bidding.
According to ICANN, DNRs will need to show some legitimate claim to the new TLD that they are claiming and buying to prevent cyber-squatting. Canon, the digital imaging company, for example, has long said that if they could get the .canon TLD, they were going to do so. In the case of generic words, though, such as the aforementioned ".cola," ".soda" or ".pop," I suspect the new TLD will go to whoever gets their first and/or bids the most money.
Will any of this actually make any difference for users? I think it will. I think it's going to hurt people like you and me.
If I want to find a business now, and I don't want to bother to Google it, I know I have a fair chance of getting there by using the company's name in the domain name: http://www.ibm.com, http://www.redhat.com, or http://www.microsoft.com. This new flood of TLDs? I can only see it confusing and annoying people while wasting money on domain names that would otherwise never be used.