ICANN open floodgate to domain extensions
As a web marketing company who like to keep our ear to the ground, here at WMpS we are always looking out for the latest news stories and press releases that affect our world as well as yours; which is why yesterday morning I took particular notice of an associated press article I found on Yahoo News.
The document revealed that ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers had announced a decision to explode its restrictions on generic top level domain (gTLDs) registrations; meaning that from January 12 2012 any word in any language or in fact script can be registered as a domain suffix.
22 recognised domain extensions are currently in use, from .com and .co.uk to .biz and .info but the announcement by ICANN yesterday will undoubtedly lead to a great increase. From countries and cities to institutions, hotels and brands; in what has been labelled the ‘right of the dot’ movement organisations, CEOs and representatives will have the opportunity to buy into completely new domains that will professedly increase brand awareness and identity.
According to the article Australian domain registration firm Melbourne IT whose clients include Volvo, LEGO and GlaxoSmithKline have already experienced a surge of interest from brands looking to apply for their own unique extensions, chief executive Theo Hnarakis stating that, “It will allow corporations to better take control of their brands…For example, .apple or .ipad would take customers right to those products.”
It is thought that around 500 to 1000 new domains will be registered which ICANN hope will also alleviate the rather congested .com market with many companies and groups falling over themselves to find relevant domain names producing inevitable overlaps. To lay claim to a particular domain though, a prospective applicant must demonstrate a viable authority and relevance toward that extension; if two or more parties contend over the same name it is thought ICANN will auction the license off to the highest bidder. One of the first firms to back the change has been Canon, the Japanese imaging company, who have openly expressed their intention to purchase .canon.
Budgetary clout will no doubt play a large role in this new system with an application fee set at £114,000 and a further substantial yearly subscription charge this is undoubtedly a privilege reserved for the most successful or well funded enterprises and out of the reach of most SMEs. ICANN have however stated that around $2million has been set aside to aid applicants from developing countries where the, “evaluation fee or access to technical expertise might be somewhat of a bar”, according to senior vice president Kurt Pritz.
So what do reckon to all this domain denomination? Well there have certainly been mixed reviews in the office; a lot of people are somewhat skeptical about this innovation suggesting that it will just cause confusion for internet users trying to find their desired domain when the suffix could now be almost anything. The overall implementation of this process will no doubt take several months not to mention time for the domains themselves to start competing against existing TLDs and for users to grasp the concept. How this will affect the strength of .com and other extensions in terms of SEO domain url strength only time will truly tell. In the meantime though, I wonder if we are gifting even more influence to search engines that we may soon not only rely upon to uncover content but to actually find the domains themselves; www.wmps.digitalagency hmmm.Tweet