It’s a big day in the world of domaining. ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) just took the next step in changing the way we navigate around the world wide web when they signed the first four registry agreements on new top level domains.
Top level domains are those words we type after the “dot” – com, net, edu, org. But now that the internet is getting crowded, ICANN decided it was time to create new living quarters to house everyone so they created 2,000 new TLDs and put them up for grabs.
It’s going to take a few years to sort it all out but the process is under way and it’s the start of something big. Big like when we all went from using AOL to access the world, to logging on through cable and DSL. At the time, it was hard to imagine a day when we wouldn’t be greeted with that familiar squelch, (I need that sound as a ring tone. Who has it?) but here we are.
The first four domains are all foreign script words including the Arabic word for “network”, Russian for “online”, Russian for “web site”, and Chinese for “game”.
It will take another nine months or more before those domains will be live but it’s a start.
Those were the easy ones. The hard ones are ahead of us, for example “.Amazon.” The retail giant put in a bid to control that domain but the ICANN Advisory Committee says no way. They haven’t stated their reasons for denying the request but it probably has to do with that river in South America. It’s more likely the TLD will go to a country bordering the mighty waterway.
Clothier Patagonia is having a similar issue. ICANN says a private company shouldn’t own a name that belongs to a geographical region of the world.
Amazon’s only just begun to fight. They’ve put bids in on 80 TLD’s including .kindle and .shop. Firewood suppliers and retailers across the planet are voicing their objections.
It all sounds very trivial but these decisions are going to impact future traffic on the web. The company that ends up with “.book” will be in a unique place if they’re a publisher or retailer of said objects. It’s also bound to cause some confusion when location abbreviations have a second meaning. For example, did you know that “.TV” wasn’t actually created to support television-related websites. It’s actually the home domain of the islands of Tuvalu and they’re getting 50 million dollars in rent for letting TV sites use their name.
Good news or bad news – the next internet gold rush has begun.