Brand real estate is about to create a whole new earth in our clouds. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) are the coordinators of unique web addresses, ensuring that computers can find one another across the world, and they have just approved something called Top-Level Domains.
Pretty soon well known domain names like .net, .com, .org ext will expand creatively, exposing a new platform where 'big corporate companies and industries' will be able to purchase land online, expressing personalised web addresses and opening back up many more opportunities to get your dream domain.
A company such as 'Ford' would normally have "ford.com" BUT if they wished to, they could apply for "cars.FORD". You could also apply for generic extensions such as.CARS,.BANK,.MUSIC or.HAIR, for companies that come under a certain area such as existing extensions like.travel. Enabling such a proposal will influence people to select their own land in the online cloud, where their URLS are more than appropriate for their market. The change will create memorable, short names revolutionising the web and trade standards where companies may feel they need to fight for their brand names.
The proposition will open big business potential. People who buy certain domain extension such as.music could (perhaps) gain millions of pounds worth of revenue from bands, labels and music related companies who wish to end their URL with.music (as an example).
At present, a few companies have expressed their interest to ICANN with the majority wanting to take their business brand for a Top Level Domain, with the minority applying for generic terms.
Although ICANN state that they are not selling new names, the cost to apply for a new .'BLANK' will be around £115,000, or $185,000 with a further $25,000 maintenance fee. Inevitably such prices aren't helping the situation, with possibilities only being opened for the big shots.
A global campaign is about to commence to inform the world about the future of internet naming in preparation for application acceptances from the beginning of next year, January 12th to be exact.
Although the idea is creative and will allow businesses and whoever else to build a personal URL, they aren't going to help you with the Search Engine Gang (eg; Google), who do not prioritise Top Level Domain names over others. What could also cause confusion is how companies will express their brand through extended web addresses. Companies may split their brand across an URL which could cause confusion to their market and the internet. The move may increase the chance that businesses may take up all the different options of addresses to hold on to their branding. EG;.twitter, twit.ter, twit.er and so on. Big companies will want to make sure that their market are coming directly to their brand, and not being mislead to another site--potentially leading to the slight decrease in affiliate sites. Also, Lawyers should prepare themselves with the possibility that infringement cases will increase when the approvals start popping up all over the internet.
This is of course good news for anyone who has tried to purchase their business domain name recently and found their name already taken by another company, or worse still an unused link / holding page!