Ready or not, here come the new Internet top-level domain names

Ready or not, here come the new Internet top-level domain names

Summary: Are you ready for Internet domains like strip.club, Kardashian.luxury, or xxx.pics? Even if you have no intention of using them, these new domains may end up costing your company a pretty penny.

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On February 4, you'll be able to get Internet domain names with such new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) names as .CHEAP, .NINJA, or .SEXY. So, yes, if you really wanted to, you could have such domain names as dirt.cheap, joethe.ninja or imvery.sexy. Ack!

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GTLDs are part of the Domain Name System (DNS). They're the last label of fully qualified domain names such as .com, .edu, and .gov. These are used to give human-readable addresses to the Internet's cryptic IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. So far, so good.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided in 2012 that the 22 existing gTLDs weren't enough. So, ICANN decided to give us up to 1,400 new TLDs. ICANN claimed that "These additional gTLDs will enhance competition, innovation and choice in the Domain Name space, providing a wider variety of organizations, communities and brands new ways to communicate with their audiences."

In a statement, Akram Atallah, president of ICANN's Generic Domains Division, said that adding these hundreds of new gTLDs is "the biggest change to the Internet since its inception." And, that these will be "bringing people, communities and businesses together in ways we never imagined. It's this type of innovation that will continue to drive our global society."

I don't think so.

I see this just as a way for ICANN and domain registrants to make money. For ICANN, each bid for a new gTLD brought in $185,000 plus whatever they make from other fees. Of course, if a domain registrant ends up owning what proves to be a popular gTLD they can make a handsome profit from registering sites that use that gTLD.

I really doubt, however, that many of these new gTLDs will be all that popular. For example, remember the big flap when dot-xxx gTLDs were first allowed? It turned out few people really wanted them.

ZDNet's Violet Blue found in 2012 that there were only 27,555 dot-xxx sites after six months and none of them were getting much traffic. By April 2013, according to ICANN records, there were  just over 108,000 dot-xxx domains. Worse still for dot-xxx site owners, Alexa, the Web site information company, reports that even in the adult sub-category, there was not a single dot-xxx site in the top 500 most popular porn sites.

Will it really be any different for such gTLDs as .BUZZ, .WANG, or .SINGLES? I don't think so. Sure gTLDs combinations such as .SEXY.NINJA.SINGLES are funny, but it's not worth spending the money on a domain name just for a joke.

A few of the new gTLDs make some sense. I can see some businesses wanting a .LIMO, .COFFEE, or a .BERLIN domain name. For the most part, though, I think these gTLDs are a waste of a company's money.

So why am I even bothering to talk about this if I think that instead of being a big change it will be a big nothing? Because it can still end up costing your company a lot of money. For example, what are you going to do if your company is named Joe's Computers and someone registers JoesComputer.cheap, JoesComputer.club, or JoesComputer.build. The "cheap" solution is you'll need to buy those domains names. The average price for a domain name is about $8 to $10 a year per domain. It adds up.

It may not be that easy. As several lawyers from the top international law firm K&L Gates recently observed in a blog posting, "A virtually limitless number of domain names will very soon open for registration under these new TLDs, with the potential for widespread abusive registrations and cybersquatting."

They're right.

True, you can use the ICANN 'Trademark Clearinghouse' a centralized database of trademarks, to protect your trademarks at the second level of new gTLDs. The second-level is the word before the .gTLD. This will cost you $150 per trademark per year.

Even then, as K&L Gates pointed out, there's "considerable debate has surrounded whether the Clearinghouse goes far enough to protect intellectual property rights." For example, the "Clearinghouse will only protect against abusive registration of an 'Identical Match' to a trademark. An 'Identical Match' is determined according to strict rules, with only domain names using varied spacing, hyphens and other punctuation being recognized as a match. Unfortunately, domain names which are deceptively similar to trademarks or which intentionally capitalize on obvious misspellings (a practice known as 'typosquatting' – for example, 'klgate.gtld' (without the 's') – will not be caught by the Clearinghouse."

Put it all together and -- while I may joke about funny domain names -- the serious truth is that these new gTLDs have the potential to cost your company serious money, and there's nothing funny about that.

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13 comments
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  • (DOT)XXX and (DOT)porn (DOT)???

    YAH! I LIKE IT!
    It' keeps that KRAP out of my searches and
    hopefully we can totally block it out of our mail.
    .
    Keep them within there own little world of xxx garbage and away from our children.
    .
    fm-usa
  • New Domain Like AHCA?

    Seems to me that just like most commercial organizations, they look to their federal govt as mentors for great new money-making ideas... Obama and his worthless group of community organizers had a party at the WH and came up with the biggest new bait and switch tax scheme since income tax (which failed to get a 2/3 majority vote of the states and is therefore illegal); and called it Obamacare.
    In the beginning, they used to use income tax to finance federal govt. Then became megalomaniacs and forged an unholy alliance with industry to look the other way while nearly unbelievable price jumps were started for an array of fictional excuses, and illegal payola came knocking in the form of various huge political contributions.
    As ridiculous as it is, they used up that money and so became bored of this great new scheme to fleece what remained of the working class tax-payer and decided to return to another more direct form of taxation by raising healthcare costs of an even smaller base of working tax-payers... many of whom have been displaced into McJobs because industry decided that they needed to lower their quality and service standards if they were to continue meeting the insatiable political payola demands in return for free license to gouge the working class.
    Of course, even though it's obvious to intelligent individuals, in their hysterical lust for greed, both govt and commerce have all consciously ignored where this is going to lead us all...
    TerrifiedCitizen
    • Figures...

      Jeez dude, you turned an article about domain names into a political rant. Get a grip already...
      AmraLeo
      • Correct AmraLeo

        Right on AmraLeo!
        bioscorpion
    • Wrong Forum!!!

      This is not a conversation about Obamacare, this is a tech site. Take your political rant somewhere else.
      Eleutherios
  • Crap is right

    Since Adobe got hacked, I've been inundated with upwards of 25 spam emails per day from .me domains, targeted not only to my email address, but also to me personally.

    The only redeeming factor, is that while I was registered with Adobe, they never had my Credit Card, as my purchase was part of a retraining and the funding body paid the College for my materials.

    Adobe still doesn't give two hoots.
    inkwell
  • Of course

    There's always one nutter that turns every thread into a political screed.
    harry_dyke
    • Look on the bright side

      At least he didn't invoke Godwin.....yet
      Lost In Clouds of Data
  • We need fewer, not more TLDs

    For over a decade now I've been arguing that we need fewer TLDs, not more. So now I have to spend countless hours and dollars protecting my clients tradmarked names on 1,400 more domains? ICANN has become a greedy tool of the registry industry.

    And of course nobody wanted a dot.xxx domain. It just make filtering out porno sites too easy.
    JohnMcGrew@...
  • We Live In an Infinite Universe

    Understand the world and universe is expanding. Evolution is inevitable weather you agree or with it not. If you do agree you will grow and evolve if don't agree you will fall back and dissolve. Natures evolutionary law! More people coming into this planet everyday and that means more ideas. So expanding the gTLD universe is an AWESOME thing! :-) Join the party!
    bioscorpion
  • A very long time ago.. .. .. (that's over a decade)

    I sent an email to MicroSoft asking if it's possible to block the very server that smut/porn/etc comes from. I did get a response, it was unfavorable.

    1.) We would have a smidgen more control of
    . . . what was NOT to be dumped into our PC's.

    But the main reason was....
    2.) When the server realized they're loosing income
    . . . because of certain types of websites, they'd self regulate.

    But alas, so far it has yet to happen.
    fm-usa
  • Re: A very long time ago...

    I reckon that even 10-11 years ago, there was more than ONE server hosting porn :-)

    Also, why did you write to Microsoft? (Nobody controls the internet, although the DNS registries have more control over it than most.)

    As for MS's response 2), I'd say they we're humouring you. In truth, I'd say you were very lucky that they bothered replying at all.
    StandardPerson
  • gTLDs

    New generic TLDs are coming.Read my Blog
    bilase151214