Singapore was the stage for one of ICANN’s most historic decisions. The new gTLD program was unanimously approved by the ICANN Board with a vote of 13 to 1 with 2 abstentions at its 41st International Meeting.
Being called the “Biggest Domain Name Expansion” in the history of the Internet, this move is expected to open the top level domain space to an unlimited number of extensions. Currently, there are about 22 generic TLDs (.com, .net, .org) and with the introduction of new gTLDs, this number is expected to shoot up considerably:
- Brands will be able to register their extensions (.Google, .IBM, .Apple)
- Large cities will be able to register their own extensions (.NYC)
- Trade organizations can register extensions like .restaurant and .cafe
- Generic extensions like .gamers, .comics, etc. will be scooped up as well
The decision brings a successful end to years of discussions and deliberations between people and organizations that belong to the community. The new gTLD program has faced criticism from various institutions and governments over the years. While concessions have been made for most of the volatile parts of this program, there are a few concerns that still need to be addressed.
Nevertheless, as of now, this new program is most certainly a progressive next step. Whether we’re moving forward or backward, only time will tell.
Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from January 12, 2012 to April 12, 2012. You can read the official Press Release at http://www.icann.org/en/news/releases/release-20jun11-en.pdf
Additionally, Michele Neylon’s article on CircleID covers the impact of new gTLDs on Registrars quite well.