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New TLD Application Window Opens Tomorrow - What Does It Mean? (Here are Answers to Some Basic FAQs)

Michele Neylon

Click to EnlargeTomorrow, January 12th 2012 ICANN will open the application window for new TLDs.

What on earth does that mean?

Companies, organisations, groups and even cities will be applying to run their own domain name extension (new gTLDs).

What new domain name extensions are we going to see?

At the moment nobody knows for sure. A number of organisations have been very open about their plans to apply for particular strings, so we know there are applicants for:

.shop (multiple applicants)
.web (multiple applicants)
.nyc (multiple applicants?)
.paris
.scot
.irish
.london
.music (multiple applicants)
.wine
.canon

And many more besides, but nobody knows at the moment who will actually get to launch a new domain extension.

Why not?

ICANN's launch program includes an application process that vets applications very carefully, so some applications will probably fail. Others might get past the initial stages of the application process but fail for another reason.

Can I apply to run my own domain extension?

Short answer: Yes, but it's going to cost you around $1 million US and you'll need to be a limited company or equivalent.

Longer answer: Getting your own domain extension is not the same as simply registering a domain via a registrar. With your own domain name extension you would have a lot of freedom, but you also have a lot of responsibility as well. While it might be suited to an organisation, group, city or big company, it probably isn't something that most individuals would consider doing, unless they were multi-millionaires :)

Does my brand need to apply for our own TLD? We're worried that someone will "squat" it.

No. The newgTLD program has a lot of trademark and IP protection mechanisms built-in, so you can object to an application before it is fully processed

When will we know which extensions have been applied for?

Early in May 2012 ICANN will be publishing the full list of applications

What happens if more than one entity applies for the same string?

They could end up in an auction.

Can there be shorter domain extensions with this expansion?

The minimum is 3 characters. All the two characters are reserved for country codes. The same rule applies to internationalised domain names.

So could I have email@extension?

No. You still need a domain/string before the extension e.g. michele@neylon.nyc would be valid, but michele@nyc wouldn't be. The extension (TLD) is the bit on the right of the dot — you still need to specify something on the left.

When will I be able to register a .irish or .shop domain?

When the registry operator has been chosen and registrars (such as ourselves) begin offering the new extension(s) for sale. This is unlikely to happen until 2013 at the earliest.

We will post more on the subject as the facts become known.

Can I pre-register a .irish or a .shop domain now?

No and we would strongly discourage anyone from even trying to pre-register domains now.

Will I need to register my company name or trademark in all these new domain extensions?

No. There are going to be a much larger number of domain extensions that will probably cater for specific industries, professions, languages and locations. There wouldn't be much point in registering your brand or company name in all of them.

So which domains should we register?

If you sell wine and there is a .wine, then that would be an obvious choice. Got an office in New York City? Then .nyc would make a lot of sense.

In short you should see these new extensions as being a marketing opportunity.

How much will it cost to register my own domain with these new extensions? i.e. mycompany.shop or mybusiness.paris

Pricing will be determined by each registry operator, so some extensions might be available (retail) for not much more than a .com domain name now, while other domains will probably be sold as "premium" extensions.

Will these new domain extensions replace existing .com or .co.uk domain names?

No. This is an expansion. It is not a replacement.

If you have any other questions/queries, or if something is unclear please let me know via the comment form below.

By Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions. More blog posts from Michele Neylon can also be read here.

Related topics: Cybersquatting, DNS, Domain Names, Registry Services, ICANN, Top-Level Domains

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