Starting today, applications can be made for new generic top-level domain names (gTLDS), which look set to shake up the internet landscape. Instead of using the existing 22 domains names such as .com, .org or .co.uk, brands now have the option to use addresses such as .simplyzesty or .facebook. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), whose main function is to make sure that every address on the internet is unique and all valid addresses can be found, have introduced these new possibilities with a view to expanding domain names "to include all types of words in many different languages. For the first time generic TLDs can include words in non-Latin languages, such as Cyrillic, Chinese or Arabicâ€.
This development has been planned over the past seven years and will mean a whole new way of understanding and using the internet, with the possibility that the likes of .com, .org, .gov and .co.uk, top level domains that so many people take for granted as the defacto options might no longer be the most popular addresses, when the option for new and exclusive gTLDS exist.
To give an example of what the changes would mean for millions of second level domain names already in existence, take this address www.simplyzesty.com. The second level domain name in this case refers to 'simply zesty', but if a top-level domain name were acquired, '.simplyzesty' could replace the '.com', thus becoming the gTLD. Then second level domain names could be registered at this domain name, e.g. www.ciara.simplyzesty. It takes a bit of getting used to the idea that this could be an internet address, as the expected .com or .org is not there.
Those wishing to avail of a new domain name will have to purchase the names for the sum of $185,000, however some financial assistance is available through a support programme which would allow the applicant, such as those from developing economies, to pay just $47,000. This fee may seem high, but for a business the right to own an official domain name is extremely important, as it is a part of their brand and how they are represented to the public.
These new addresses won't be appearing soon - they will most likely begin to appear in 2013 - as the application process takes many months. Also this is an optional process as the current 22 top level domains will still exist. Nonetheless it's an exciting development and looks set to open up many more as yet unknown possibilities for companies, organisations and individuals in the online world.
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