Most resellers will have heard about the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, otherwise known as ICANN. Many of you will also have heard of the new generic top level domains (gTLDs) program, which if you listen to sensationalised media reports is likely to change the face of the internet as we know it. At QuantmWeb we have been asked by a number of resellers to explain the program, so below is an overview to get you started.
At present there are about 20 gTLD domain extensions, which have been rolled out in batches since the 1980s. They include common extensions like .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz, but also other extensions like .coop and .mil that you may not have heard of. Some of these domain extensions are open so you can easily register, while others are closed or sponsored and have special eligibility criteria and restrictions on who can register.
In addition to the gTLDs, there are also country-code extensions. This includes .au, .nz, .uk, etc. While some of the country code extensions (like .tv or .me) are used for general purposes, they have all been delegated out to an organisation to administer on behalf of the country that the extension represents. Each organisation sets their own rules for registration and administration, which is why different domain extensions work in different ways and have different rules for registration. For example, the rules for registration length and eligibility criteria that auDA set for the .au name space differ to the rules that Nominet have put in place for .uk.
Since 2005 ICANN have been working on the next rollout of new gTLDs. In previous rounds a maximum of 7 new extensions have been released at one time, but in this round ICANN have allowed an unlimited number of applications to be submitted and considered, albeit with a hefty price tag ($185,000 USD in application fees alone). They received 1930 applications including geographic (like .sydney), brand (.google), generic (.book) and non-latin scripts (IDNs). Some of these have since been withdrawn (with no refund available), but the majority are still active.
ICANN have been sorting and reviewing the applications, and as of the end of March have begun releasing confirmation of extensions that have been approved, at a rate of approximately 20-30 per week. Once approved, the applicant executes a registry agreement with ICANN and passes a pre-delegation technical test. While the timelines provided by ICANN may be extended due to unforeseen issues, at this stage the first batches of approved extensions are on track to go live sometime after July this year (2013). For further information on this program, we recommend that you visit ICANN’s new gTLDs website. Those who are interested in brand protection and trademark rights, we also suggest you view our post that covers the Trademark Clearinghouse (this article is coming soon).
QuantmWeb Domain Management
We offer a Domain Management program for companies who wish to outsource the day-to-day management of their domain portfolio. With a personal account manager and a higher level of service and consultancy to answer all of your domain questions, this program is ideal for organisations who rely heavily on an online presence and want to ensure the highest level of service for management of their domain name portfolio. For more information visit QuantmWeb Domain Registration.