ICANN’s announcement about opening the registration of new generic top level domains (gTLD) has created significant buzz in ‘Internetland’ and the domain industry. Industry insiders speculate that it will generate a new gold rush of activity on domain names, like was last seen in the mid 90’s. ICANN also announced that for the first time they will be allowing non Roman characters to be used in the new gTLD’s. This in itself will effect a massive number of domains as well as individuals.
Who would be buying the new gTLD’s?
It’s estimated that the average Fortune 1000 company spends upwards of half a million dollars protecting their intellectual property on the internet each year. For larger companies such as eBay, IBM, Telus or Visa the cost to buy their own TLD will end up being a fraction of what they already spend. The assumption also is that cities and countries that missed out on their .com domain will be interested, .toronto or .canada for example.
What will the cost be?
It’s estimated that new gTLD’s will start around $50 000, to cover the cost of development, which is estimated to be in the 20 million dollar range. That however, is for the run of the mill, uncontested TLD’s. Expect to see prices in the several million dollar ranges for premium domains, such as .kids or .beer.
What do we expect to see?
The hope is that the internet will start self regulating, for example having everything that is safe for children grouped into the .kids domain, and anything that’s not safe for work contained in the .sex domain. This in principle is a good idea, however there is nothing on the books that will restrict all domains of a certain type or content to a certain domain extension.
When can we expect to see these new domains?
ICANN has accounced that they are aiming availability close to the first part of 2009.
Make no mistake, these domains aren’t geared towards your average internet user. I mean, if you have an extra 50 thousand sitting around the house and nothing else to spend it on, this may be something for you, however most of these new domains are geared to large companies, cities etc. That doesn’t mean that if you are a private citizen looking to get in on a new gTLD and make some cash that option won’t be available to you, however you need to be aware that you’ll have to come to the table with a lot of cash on hand. The costs involved won’t be the same as registering a generic .com domain which I think judging by the questions I have fielded in the past few days people are assuming.
It hasn’t been announced yet just how the registrations will proceed, but with the successful auction of domains under the .asia TLD, we can be pretty confident that there will be some sort of bidding process.