New Top Level Domains
On the 16th November this year one of the most anticipated and important announcements for the internet was made by ICANN (the company which runs the internet domain name system). They announced the 7 new TLDs (Top Level Domains) for the whole internet.
In case you are wondering what a TLD is they are the main domain name extensions (like .com .net and .org). There are also country specific domains like .co.uk etc. but there are usually restrictions on these. The 7 new TLDs will be worldwide and are the first new TLDs to be announced since .com .net and .org, so it is obvious that this is a major announcement.
The 7 new top level domains will be:
- .aero - Aeronautical sites
- .biz - Business sites
- .info - General
- .name - Personal Sites
- .museum - Museums only
- .pro - Professionals (Doctors, Lawyers etc)
- .coop - Cooperatives
Although ICANN decided on these 7 names to try and reduce the pressure on .com domain names, it is very unlikely that they will ever become anywhere near as popular as .com has. ICANN has also made what many people would regard as mistakes when deciding on the names. There were several proposals including .web for general sites, .kids for child-safe sites and .xxx or .sex for sites with adult content. In my personal opinion (and the opinions of many other webmasters) these three proposals were much better. .web would have been popular (like .com is now) and the other two would have helped to censor the web.
Unfortunately, as well as the unpopular choice of TLDs, many of the 7 come with restrictions on them. .aero will cost around $50 and may only be open to aeronautical companies. .biz is priced at the ridiculous price of $2000 for registration and $150 per year renewal fees. .pro will only be available to certified professionals like doctors and lawyers and .museum will only be available to museums. There is very little information on .coop but it will probably only be available to cooperative businesses.
The two most popular choices for the new TLDs are .info and .name. .info is the most like .com as it will be open to anyone and will be priced quite low (costing $5 plus the fee charged by the registrar). It is also open to all sites. .name is quite confusing but will be open to anyone at a price of $5. People will only be able to register 3rd level domain names. This means that if your name was John Smith you would be able to register www.john.smith.name but you would not own the .smith.name part. This would be owned by the people running the .name TLD.
It is a shame that ICANN did not listen to the public opinion on the new TLDs and decided on 4 names which will be useless to most of the internet users in the world. It will, though, mean that many thousands of new domain names will be registered (earning ICANN a lot of money), but will anyone benefit from it? Many people will just have to buy their .com domain in .info as well, and most professionals who want a domain name already have a .com. It seems that the announcement will just lead to webmasters having to spend more of their hard earned cash!
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