A TLD, or Top Level Domain, is the end part of a web address like .com, .net or .uk. Technically this is called a hostname. It is entered into the root zone of the Domain Name System (DNS) and this points to the place on the internet where the corresponding second level domains can be found and used for resolving websites and email. It should be noted that Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .COM or .NET are different from the country specific ccTLDs such as .UK, .DE and .US. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is contracted by the US government to control and maintain the DNS. In 2008 they announced their intention to liberalise the top level of the DNS to theoretically allow anyone to apply for the Generic Top Level Domain of their choice. This plan was finally approved at the ICANN meeting in Singapore in June 2011.
ICANN began accepting applications on 12 January 2012 and the official ICANN application fee was $185,000 per string. On 13 June 2012, ICANN revealed that it had received 1,930 applications for a total of 1,409 unique strings. The new registries began to go live from October 2013. Hundreds of new gTLDs have been delegated so far, including terms as varied as .LONDON, .GURU and .NINJA.
Currently there is not a definite date for the next round of new gTLDs. There is a process that will be followed by the ICANN community to reach an open window for applications.
Of course, most brands really aren’t that interested in the workings of ICANN, the global administrative body for domain names, but the work of this body will determine when and, importantly, how further dot brands can be applied for. At the moment there are two streams of work happening at ICANN which will determine the outcome for future dot brands.
1. Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) review – will determine any modifications to the existing RPMs needed for the second round to go ahead
2. Subsequent procedures review – will determine any changes to the last policies and procedures to be followed to allow a new round (or possibly permanently open window) of applications
Only when these two processes are complete and ICANN has implemented any policy recommendations, will the new application window open. It will be important to be prepared for this window opening and be ready to respond to all the questions that will be laid out to apply for your new name. If you’re interested in finding out more, or even getting involved in shaping the next round by getting involved in the ICANN processes, then do get in touch with us.
ICANN received 1,930 applications, for a total of 1,409 unique strings, of which 230 strings had multiple applicants, and 116 were IDNs.
Most applied-for strings
Applications by type of TLD