ICANN has announced four new gTLDs (generic top-level domains) designed to help organize the expansive internet. The four new non-Latin strings—in Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic—signify ICANN’s move towards globalizing the web.
The new URL suffixes: Arabic for “web/network”; Cyrillic for “online”; Cyrillic for “site”; and Chinese for “game(s)” are just some of the estimated 1,400 new gTLDs that the organization plans to add to some of the Web’s most common suffixes, including .com, .org and .net.
“In the weeks and months ahead, we will see new domain names coming online from all corners of the world, bringing people, communities and businesses together in ways we never imagined. It’s this type of innovation that will continue to drive our global society,” Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Generic Domains Division, said in a press release.[more]
Following the introduction of the new domains, a “sunrise” period begins, a “rights protection mechanism” built into the new program that allows trademark holders a 30-day period to register second-level domains that correspond to their owned marks, according to a blog post.
“The Program continues to progress expeditiously on a secure path and at a careful pace,” Atallah writes. “ICANN’s foremost purpose is to ensure the stability, security and integrity of the DNS.”
The vast changes have not come without problems, though, as many businesses have expressed concern over how the new gTLDs will impact them. In 2011, the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) submitted a proposal to ICANN asking the Board of Directors to take steps to make the New gTLD Program less detrimental to businesses. Over 85 representatives from major global brands attended “What’s at Stake,” and discussed how new gTLDs will impact their business. “One of the biggest responses we have heard from brands is that they feel as if their backs are up against a wall,” said CADNA President Josh Bourne.
Google, Amazon and Microsoft are among a large number of companies who have applied for new gTLDs, in some cases bidding hundreds of thousands of dollars to lay claim to brand specific suffixes. But success isn’t guaranteed: Ralph Lauren recently lost its bid to secure “.polo” after the US Polo Association filed a community objection.