The future of domain names

What will the future of the web look like with all these new registrars, and who will own all the new TLDs? Check out the details below.

One of the most important decisions people have to make is choosing a domain name. A domain name is identification string that are used in various networking contexts, application specific naming, and addressing purposes.

A generic top-level domain (gTLD) is one of the categories of top-level domains (TLDs) maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for use in the Domain Name System of the Internet. It is visible to Internet users as the suffix at the end of a domain name. The group of generic top-level domains included domains, created in the early development of the domain name system, that are now sponsored by designated agencies or organizations and are restricted to specific types of registrants.

In 2011, the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved a plan to dramatically increase the amount of real estate available online by allowing web addresses to end  with almost any word in any language. Also ICANN authorizes new TLDs, private firms must bid for the right to own and manage them and close 2000 applications for new gTLDs.
It’s no surprise, then, that .com is the most popular top-level domain (TLD) by far. One of seven original TLDs first developed in 1985 along with .gov, .org, and .edu, it’s remained synonymous with websites even as available domains have expanded beyond those seven. That’s why the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit in charge of maintaining Internet domain names and other unique identifiers, has been busy adding new TLDs in the past few years. ICANN has tried to expand beyond .com in the past, but unfortunately some of those TLDs, including the notorious .biz and .info, quickly became havens for spammers, causing legitimate businesses to shun them.

But today, ICANN is working to change the rules of TLD registrations, opening the floodgates to hundreds or even thousands of new TLDs in the next few years.

The new gTLD program has a future that is yet to be determined. Even though there’s over 200 new gTLDs launched and available to the general public, we do not yet see new gTLDs in everyday usage here in the United States. We really won’t know for sure how the public will use the new gTLDs until after all of them are launched. What we do know is that a significant number of companies, organizations, and brands have invested large sums of money into the new gTLD program and banking on its success.

It will be 2 – 3 years for all of these forces to converge, likely coinciding with round two of gTLDs. For brands, the future of the gTLD is tapping into its power as a critical digital asset and technology platform rather than just a domain name.

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