ICANN agree change for Internet's Domain Name System
Dotcom can now be Dotanything!
The Board of Directors behind the global Internet body ICANN voted 13 to 1 (with 2 abstaining) yesterday 20th June 2011 to open up the Internet Domain Name System.
ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is a non-profit, public-benefit corporation formed in 1998. It includes representatives from all over the world and its aim is to keep the Internet stable, promote competition and to represent the global Internet community.
One of its concrete tasks is the management of the top-level domain name space (which is the last part of the domain name)
There are 4 main groups of top-level domains (TLDs):
- country code TLDs generally used or reserved for a country or territory such as .uk, .fr or .eu
- internationalised country code TLDs which are specially encoded domain names displayed in a native script of alphabet such as Arabic or Chinese characters
- generic TLDs a list of 22 extensions such as .com, .info, .gov, .org or .biz
- infrastructure TLDs which is in fact only one domain for the Address and Routing Parameter Area and is .arpa - intended as a temporary domain to enable the transition of the fore-runner of the Internet to what we know today, but kept as proved impossible to remove
Yesterday's vote approved the plan to open up the generic TLD (gTLDs) from the current list of 22 to include any TLD in any language or script. This will allow addresses ending in .apple, .sony, .vegas or .bank
How will the changes work?
Companies and organisations will be able to apply for any suffix for their Internet domain names from 12 January 2012.
ICANN expects the first applicants to be in operation as real Internet domain names before the end of 2012.
The Chairman of ICANN's Board of Directors, Peter Dengate Thrush announced "Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age . We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration." and the President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN, Rod Beckstrom,added "We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind".
Before any a new gTLD is agreed, the application of around 50 questions, each requiring 2 to 3 pages of detail, will need to be accepted. In addition, the registration fee of £115,000, the £15,000 a year subscription fee and proof of a legitimate claim to the gTLD will need to be provided. However even with these stringent conditions, thousands of applications are expected.
Is it worth it?
ICANN is convinced the changes are bringing innovative branding opportunities to organisations and a chance to carve out a new market on the Internet. However some of the larger companies see it as an obligation to secure their brand name before someone else does.
Users of the Internet are utilising Search Engines more and more and so the actual name of any Internet site is being 'entered' less and less. The number entering the name directly into their browser is consistently falling, and most people do not pay attention to the address of the Internet site - they just want the information.
Also, many large organisations have spent the last years building up awareness of their particular Internet address. Even if people don't really pay attention, they are aware of which.co.uk or tesco.com and may find the transition to a new suffix difficult.
However I believe there are more opportunities with generic suffixes such as .sport, .cinema or .bank where businesses can work together to put in an application. These allow organisations to show off an online presence in a more localised way.
Concluding thoughts on the opening of the Domain Name System
I do not believe there will be an explosion of new Internet address suffixes with thousands of new gTLDs being created. However there is certainly scope for some well thought out and planned developments.
The changes may even offer more to the smaller organisations, for example, where the .com gTLD has already been taken and a new domain suffix will offer an alternative solution. It will be interesting to see what these changes will offer - I can imagine the situation where organisations club together to obtain a gTLD such as .sport and then sell the right to use this to other companies such as tesco.sport.
As for AB Publish customers - there will be no change. You will still be able to create your own Business Website using our Internet Creation system in the same way. The only change is that your choice of Internet address has increased. We still provide the interface to create your own Business Internet website, it is what you call it that has been opened up.
All our sites will still run on any of the new gTLDs and if you have any questions or concerns, then do not hesitate to contact us.
In the future we may obtain the gTLD .abpublish and all our customer sites would be instantly recognisable by the Internet address suffix. However I personally do not see the attraction of this move for us...we shall see!
Tue 21 June 2011 10:27:35