Well, it’s a done deal. I sat at my computer last night and watched Mike Berkens live blogging from Singapore as the ICANN board voted to approve the new gTLD program. ICANN will begin accepting new gTLD applications in January, 2012 and the first new gTLD’s may be live as soon as Nov. 2013. This may seem like a long time from now, but it was only two years ago when the idea for new gTLD’s was brought to the table.
My first ever blog post on NameTalent.com was about the new gTLD’s, I stated my objections and worries about the program. I still believe that there are a lot of legal issues that will be dealt with and new gTLD’s will be confusing for the Internet users, but will eventually be accepted and utilized. My biggest issue is how ICANN plans to allocate and operate geo gTLD’s, I personally think that geo gTLD’s should be restricted – at least country names. Allowing private groups to operate .USA or .CANADA top level domains would undermind the whole ccTLD system that is very deeply rooted in many countries.
I have no problem with companies that want to use their own TLD like .ebay or .coke, etc.. I say go for it. The competition for keyword TLD’s will be very fierce and there will be much debate on the allocation and usage of the best keywords. I think that companies who have already begun positioning themselves will and should have first dibbs on applying for and winning the TLD they wish to operate. As part of the program, ICANN will make sure that applicants will have enough capital, infrastructure and resources to run a TLD. Just to apply for a new gTLD applicants are looking at a $185k fee.
As Michael Berkens wrote yesterday:
..the new gTLD program is a reality and the domain name world has changed forever. Anyway you slice it there will be hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into the domain name space.
This certainly will change the landscape of domain names over the next ten to twenty years. It will be very interesting. I think there is a lot of opportunity for domainers and there will be absolutely huge opportunities for those that work for or operate companies in the domain space.
One question that will be debated with a lot of passion over the next few months is “How will this effect the value of .COM domain names?” I think that initially, we will see the value and demand for .COM domains to go up, maybe way up. However, in the long run and I’m talking 20 or so years, depending on how ICANN handles the program, this could level the playing field. The general public will eventually accept .whatever domains and also begin using them. It’s inevitable, IMHO.