Today in Singapore, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted to allow registrations of brand-specific generic top level domains, or gTLDs as they’re known. No more will internet addresses be limited to the familiar “.com” and “.net” suffixes. Rather, brand owners with extra marketing budget can now register their own trademarks as gTLDs – think “.coke” or “.apple”. And what should a company expect to pay for this privilege? CNN suggests that initial start-up costs could approach $300,000 with annual maintenance fees around $100,000. And who’s on the receiving end of these start-up fees? Yep – you guessed it – ICANN. This is a great opportunity for large companies to start registering their brand names as gTLDs, but is there really any benefit in doing so? Some have argued that these new gTLDs are a great way to ensure that official brand communications are genuine, which can help to curtail phishing scams. Only the brand-owner can register its brand as a gTLD, so this would mean that any email coming from a “.usbank” email address is, in fact, from US Bank. No more idiots sending their social security numbers to anonymous emailers, I guess. That said, if you thought that remembering a handful of gTLDs was difficult, just wait until there are thousands to keep up with. But really, at the end of the day, this new system is really only “available” to mega-companies that can afford it. And the ultimate beneficiary is ICANN. Nicely done, fellas. New gTLD applications can be submitted between January 12, 2012 and April 12, 2012.
And the internet just got a whole lot more confusing for my mom…
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