The top level domain (TLD) name boom

by / Friday, 31 October 2014 / Published in Blog

We are currently seeing the biggest increase in new top level domains names since the rise of the web. Domains like .com, .net, and are by now are very familiar, and a few more obscure ones, such as .biz and .info, have been around for a few years.

This year, ICANN and the other regional bodies that oversees domain names has decided to release a plethora of new domains, with many of them are becoming available for the first time this autumn.

We have already seen the release of the .uk domain earlier this year, but at the moment new non-country specific top level domains are being made available almost every week. For example, we’ve seen .press, .website, .place, .cooking and .guide become available over the last few weeks, with more soon due for release. UK specific domains like .london and .cymru are also available.

So why all these new domains? Well, the financial rewards for ICANN are doubtlessly a key reason. The new domains will see an increase in sales, and ICANN will also benefit from the annual charge incurred when owning a domain.

Another reason is demand. The original domain names have been so popular that it is really difficult to obtain a relevant domain name if you wanted to launch a new website. For example, over 113 million .com domains are currently registered, easily the most popular domain, making it virtually impossible to purchase a meaningful .com without having to pay a hefty fee to the current owners. These new domains open up possibilities for new websites.

Is it worth getting one of these new domains? Time will tell, but I suspect some, but not all, will become increasingly valued as the internet grows. The .tech and .website domains have been tipped to become important, while I personal think the .guide domain has a lot of potential.

Back in 2000, there was a campaign for a new .union domain specifically for trade unions. This was an ambitious demand in back then. With so few top level domains available the case for making an exception for unions was difficult. I was dubious about these calls myself, as the .org and domains for non-profits had proved sufficient, and I thought an extra .union domain would just create confusion. If the campaign for .union was still alive, it would make more sense in the current climate and be much more likely to succeed.

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