The Internet is changing in a big way starting in 2012. Web addresses all currently end in one of a finite number of extensions (.com, .org, .jp, .es, etc.) however, beginning in January individuals and organizations will be able to apply for any word or phrase (including brand names) as an extension. Within the next two years, we could see web addresses ending in things like .shop, .golf, .Microsoft, .nyc and .detroit.
Starting January 1, 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which is the organization that oversees the Internet’s addressing system, will begin to accept applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Soon after web domains may carry much more of a branded image. Sites could pop up like enjoy.pepsi, shop.kohls, holidayinn.detroit.
At first glance, this seems like a no-brainer for brands. There is a catch, though. The application process through ICANN will be robust and the application fee is $185,000, with $5,000 due at the start of the application. Most of the very large brands will most likely snap up their brands as both an offensive and defensive strategy.
Ottaway Digital can brief you further on how gTLD’s may effect your company. Call us anytime. Happy New Year!
The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital. Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.