The web is a pretty awesome place. There are billions and billions of websites that offer you literally everything under the sun. Have you noticed anything common about all there URLs or the addresses that you type to access them? Most of them end in .com, .in, .org or a few other suffixes. However, a new era in URL names is making its way to the web even as we speak.
ICANN, the not for profit organization that monitors naming conventions and almost everything else to do with the world wide web including domains, has expanded the domain-name pool so as to provide more choice, competition and drive innovation.
Now, website addresses can be almost anything, from www.awesome.photographers to even www.iwantsomeblack.coffee. ICANN has reportedly approved hundreds of these names out of the applictions it received and is in the process of reviewing others. Compared to the 7 top level domains that we once had (including .net, .gov, .edu, .mil, .int, .org and .com) we now have hundreds of suffixes for our website addresses. And now, we can also make them as relevant to our business, service, blog or website as possible.
Companies and corporations have been most eager about the change, with many already having registered and deployed websites that deploy their own name in the addresses. Google for example, has already integreted a bunch of different blogs that offered users news about what the company was up to, and integrated them all into a single place. The new website has the address blog.google and yes, it looks pretty cool.
A whole bunch of other companies have also requested and received the required approval to use domain names including .kindle, .apple, .ibm, .canon and.samsung. So, we may theoretically have websites like samsung.samsung or apple.apple. However, I am sure that these corporations will find better ways to leverage these new suffixes. Some other prominent suffixes belonging to prominent companies, that have received approval for their use include .ford, .homedepot, .delta, .nike, .hbo, .statefarm, .oldnavy and .mcdonalds.
Anyone wants to visit burger.mcdonalds someday?
It is not as if this system was launched yesterday. However, Google’s engagement and its willingness to put all its blog in a single place with a .google address shows that companies are now taking this system seriously — despite predictions and forecasts that these names will eventually die away.
Meanwhile, many of these generic top-level domains are also attracting huge amounts of attractions as many businesses are competing for the rights to sell sub-domains associated with them. For example, GMO Registry spen almost $41.5 million in an attempt to win the rights of selling .shop domain names. And in July, .web went to Nu Dot Co for a massive bid of $135 million. All this money, in case you are wondering, went to ICANN.
The basic concept remains the same as the .com, .net and other top level domains. While the rights to sell these domains were auctioned off long ago, many new suffixes have been created and there are a lot of companies bidding for their rights. ICANN sells them off to the highest bidder and then, it is the same old process. If you want to register a website that ends in that particular suffix, say .xyz, you go to a registrar that registers these domains and pay for an annual subscription.
A part of that annual subscription is kept by the registrar and the rest goes to the company that actually owns the rights to these domains. It is a pretty lucrative and rapidly growing business, one that has received fresh stimulus ever since ICANN decided to release more possibilities. As for what these possibilities are, well they are virtually limitless. You can have .place (.delhi, .newyork), .profession (.painter, .teacher), .color (.pink, .red), and even stuff like .abc, .xyz and so on.
Well, ICANN may just have made the web a much more interesting place.