You may have noticed some recent mention in the news about changes to domain names. Here’s a quick Q&A to give you the facts.
What has Happened?
ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) who handle Internet Domain TLDs (Top Level Domains) such as .com/.net/.org/.uk recently held a vote to recommend that the rules concerning the creation of new Internet TLDs should be relaxed. On 26th June they approved this relaxation.
This means that in the future companies and individuals will be able to create their own Top Level Domains. The owner of the Top Level Domain may then wish to sell on Sub Level Domains (the bit that goes before the TLD) for their TLD although this will be dependant on a number of factors.
How will it affect my business?
No immediate impact is anticipated although a number of new TLDs may be introduced in 2009 as a result of this recommendation. If you currently protect a brand name or your business is closely associated with a brand name, then we will be able to advise you once the details have been defined by ICANN.
How much will it cost?
It will cost approximately $100,000 USD to create a new TLD and technical competence in running a TLD will also be required.
The actual creation of a new TLD is a complex process involving bids from rival registries and approval of registration policies; registries also have to pass stringent checks on technical/legal competence as well as deposit a financial bond with ICANN.
It is anticipated that some companies may wish to create their own private TLD (e.g. .tesco) and have multiple Sub Level Domains (SLDs) e.g. groceries.tesco, insurance.tesco, etc. but the policy concerning the ability to actually create a private TLD is still one which has yet to be ratified by ICANN; if a company owns an international trademark for the word/brand in question, a private TLD would most likely be granted although if the trademark is only valid in a limited number of countries, you would probably be invited to register it under the respective ccTLDs (country-code top level domains) as you would do at the moment. Perhaps more importantly, a TLD which is considered a generic term (i.e. shop) would be likely to require other Internet users to be able to register their own names under that TLD (i.e. pet.shop, book.shop, electrical.shop, etc).
It is anticipated that ICANN will clarify the above as part of the ratification in early 2009.
When will it happen?
The rules will be relaxed in early 2009 assuming no major obstacles/objections are raised by ICANN members.
For further information just give us a call.