New Generic Top Level Domains, With nearly 2.09 billion global users and 100 million users in India, the Internet has come to play a central role in our social and economic lives. We use social networking to keep in touch with friends and family; we use search engines to locate information; we shop, bank and arrange vacations online. The Internet’s pervasiveness can make us wonder how we went about our daily lives before the existence of this medium. Just like every major invention before it – the telephone and automobile for example, the Internet too has evolved and changed over the years. The year 2012 will be significant as it is remembered for one such profound change - the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains that are set to revolutionize the domain name addressing system as we know it. The world has been familiar with New Generic Top Level Domains and country code Top Level Domains. Top Level Domains are the collections of Internet real estate and are represented by the characters on the right side of the “dot” in a domain name. Example: .com, which is the most popular g Top Level Domains in use today while examples of cc Top Level Domains include .in, .ru, .au among the approximately 250 cc TLDs that exist. This structure of the domain name space as we know it today is poised to undergo a profound change with the launch of new g Top Level Domains. New g Top Level Domains are a result of a recent approval by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to expand the number of gTLDs. Under the program, applicants and/or entities themselves can define their gTLD which could be a brand, community, geography or a generic term. For example, a business could apply for its own new New Generic Top Level Domains such as “.yourcompany”. With the launch of new g Top Level Domains s, the Internet’s naming system will be limited only by the human imagination. Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language using any script.
New gTLDs will offer organizations, cities and communities around the world with unprecedented opportunities to acquire their very own new g Top Level Domains to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways. New generic Top Level Domains will change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. New gTLDs are expected to be organized across four main types – Geographic: Geographic gTLDs may enable cities and regions to promote greater recognition of their area, potentially generate additional revenue, and better serve constituents. Example of a geographic generic Top Level Domains is “.hyderabad”. Brand Brand generic Top Level Domains may provide an excellent opportunity for corporations to secure their online namespace. A Brand generic Top Level Domains — for example, ".yourcompany" — could potentially provide a means for brand owners to create new ways to extend their trusted brand and services to partners, resellers, and customers, enhance brand trust and protect their brands and trademarks.
Consortia of like-minded organizations that share common missions, goals, and challenges may wish to apply for Community generic Top Level Domains to better promote, protect, guide, and serve their communities.
Forward-thinking organizations and innovative entrepreneurs are likely to apply for generic term generic Top Level Domains so that they can pursue new business opportunities or build their online presence. Examples of generic generic Top Level Domains include ".internet" or ".food".
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers application period opened on January 12 this year and applications are now being accepted. The application period is expected to close April 12, 2012, and once it is closed anyone who missed the application deadline will have to possibly wait more than a year before another application window opens. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will process all the applications, address any disputes and then add the generic Top Level Domains that have been approved to the Internet Root, enabling any second-level domain names registered on that domain to go live, sometime in the latter part of 2012 or early 2013.
Given the timelines for application, it becomes critical for potential applicants to develop their own strategy of how a new generic Top Level Domains can extend their brand, community or city, while considering the cost-benefit and IP risk analysis of engaging in the new generic Top Level Domains program. Taking a fully informed decision of whether they wish to be a first mover or a follower regarding their own potential new generic Top Level Domains is critical for applicants at this stage. Applicants for any new generic Top Level Domains will be required to demonstrate organizational, operational, and financial capability. The complexity of the application process may necessitate working with an experienced registry service provider. As the world’s largest registry, Verisign has an extensive history in operating the world’s best-known extensions, .com and .net, and can help organizations throughout the entire application process.