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The New Domain Extensions

1930 applications were filed for just over 1400 new domain extensions by the deadline in 2013. If the aim of this program to expand the internet succeeds, millions of new domain names will create the foundation for millions of new websites to take their place on the web. More than a thousand new domain strings, including some in entirely new categories, will be scheduled to launch over the next few years.

Nobody knows for certain how big the impact of this coming domain name explosion will be, though it is very likely to be vast. The sheer number and volume of the new TLDs will likely dramatically increase awareness of this change to the domain name system. In turn, this should stimulate wide acceptance and take-up of the new domain strings.

Joining the ranks of the existing generics will be a big catalog of new strings, as described under 'The New Domains' below. Also adding to the ranks will be two new categories — dot brand domains and dot city domains.

NOTE: To see a complete list of all the original applications for new domain strings, go to ICANN's official list. (ICANN is the body that regulates the domain name system.)

The New Domains

There are presently only 22 generic domain extensions (such as .net, .info and .com) and there are also 280 country code domain strings (such as .ca, .cn and .us). A big change to the status quo is coming and it looks like more than 600 new generic domain categories will be launched.

new domains graphicThe list of new domain extensions represents a very major increase in choice for domain registrants. The options for naming a new company, entertainment site or opinion blog are about to explode massively. Just about every important niche is specifically addressed, and there is also a big range of brand new general types of domain strings on the horizon. These should easily be enough to cover every possibility — domains such as .web and .corp for example.

Here is a small representative selection of the new generics to illustrate the wide scope of the program:

.app .art .attorney .auto .baby .bank .bargains .baseball .beauty .bible .bike .blog .book .business .buy .camera .careers .channel .chat .city .cloud .company .corp .coupon .data .deal .doctor .family .fashion .film .fitness .flowers .food .forsale .game .gifts .health .home .hosting .hotels .kids .law .mail .media .mobile .money .mortgage .news .online .parts .phone .play .poker .realestate .review .sale .school .science .sex .science .search .security .shop .sport .store .style .talk .tech .tires .video .weather .web .website .wedding.

The Brand Domains

It appears that a small majority of the world's thousand or so largest and most successful corporations have applied to own and operate their own domain strings. These new domain extensions will typically be based on the companys' trademarks, and naturally enough they will be closed registries — which means they will not be available to the general public.

The brand domains are certain to have a major impact on the domain name system. Some of the actual applications for brand strings reveal the companies' plans to spend large sums of money launching their new domains. They want to publicize themselves and attract customers to their private internets.

They want the consumer to know that their brand domains possess a universal quality that dot com domains do not possess — complete trustworthiness.

And they want their customers to stay on these new sites for as long as possible, purchasing goods and services, building on loyalty.

A comprehensive report about the impending dot brands has been published on our associated site Several hundred quotations from actual applications are included, along with summaries and analysis. The companies involved have the influence, the wealth and the expertise to create a new asset class of domain names that seem likely to have a major impact on the internet.

Around 680 corporations have applied for their own .brand extension. Here is just a short representative selection:

.acer .airbus .alibaba .amazon .amex .apple .axa .barclays .bridgestone .cartier .cisco .citi .deloitte .deutschepost .fedex .fox .gecompany .goodyear .honda .intel .jeep .jpmorgan .kpmg .landrover .loreal .macys .mcdonalds .merck .microsoft .mitsubishi .nba .nike .nikon .panasonic .pfizer .philips .samsung .sony .symantec .tata .toyota .walmart .xerox .youtube.

A key point about the impending brand domains is that with the backing of so many huge companies (and corresponding massive marketing spend) they will create wide global awareness amongst consumers of all the brand new brand strings. In turn, this should help drive the momentum of the whole expansion of the domain name system.

The City Domains

Given that many of the world's major cities are, population wise, much bigger than many of the world's smallest countries, it makes sense for them to have their own domain extensions. So that is what is going to happen. More than 60 cities (and a few regions) are about to acquire their own domain strings.

Here are a few of the city (and regional) extensions that are on their way:

.abudhabi .amsterdam .barcelona .bayern .berlin .boston .brussels, .budapest .catalonia .corsica .dubai .durban .hamburg .helsinki .istanbul .joburg .kyoto .london .madrid .melbourne .moscow .nyc .osaka .paris .quebec .rio .roma .ruhr .stockholm .sydney .taipei .tokyo .wales .yokohama, .zuerich.

The city domains in principle will be operated and regulated by the administrations of the cities themselves. Eligibility requirements will vary between the cities, but in general, each city will probably require registrants to either be residents or have legitimate or relevant business or media interests in their jurisdictions to qualify.

More info about the new generic and city domains can also be found at

NOTE: There is also a substantial range of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) applied for across the domain spectrum. These IDNs refer to names in various foreign languages and scripts, and these will help make the internet more fair and more international, as well as adding to naming options across the board.

Closed Generic Top Level Domains

The most controversial aspect of the new domain extension rollout is the disturbing possibility that closed generic top level domains (gTLDs) will come into existence.

A large number of applicants for the new domain strings are for exclusive, "walled garden" domain strings. In other words, they are seeking to be able to operate (alleged) monopolies in particular niches on the internet, and some of these niches are in fact highly important and valuable global industries. That is, companies like Amazon for example, wants to own the .shop and .store domain extensions in their entirety. They will not offer domain registrations to competitors or the general public. Instead, they are planning to own every single .store and .shop domain in existence for their own use. This controversy is being widely branded as (allegedly) monopolistic.

If this scenario occurs, then Amazon would own every single .shop domain in the world, for example the following short list — the actual volume could be a hundred thousand — or a million:

Imagine the insurmountable market power of owning entire registries like this.

The serious issue of closed gTLDs is analysed in deep detail by SuperMonopolies.

Amazon is further applying to own in exclusivity dozens of other closed gTLDs. Other companies such as L'Oreal (applying to own the .beauty string) and Symantec (applying to own .security) are attempting to do the same thing. If they succeed, it is anticipated that they will be able to leverage their strategies to great anti-competitive advantage. Then, it will no longer be possible to describe the internet as a free marketplace.

As noted in detail in our Terms and Conditions, text on this page about the new domains on the horizon and the controversy about the proposed closed gTLDs constitutes opinion only, does not constitute expert or legal advice, is presented purely in the public interest to promote awareness and discussion, and no responsibility is taken for any consequences, omissions or action you take from considering this opinion etc.


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