The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on October 23, 2013 announced the “Dawn of a New Internet Era” with the first round of rollouts and delegation for the
new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). This means the new gTLDs were added into
the Root Zone Database, which
is the central authoritative database for the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS).

What does this mean for the Internet?

The current list of 22 available gTLDs (e.g., .com, .biz, .net, .org) will include possibly
more than 1,400 new names or “strings.” Akram Atallah, president
of ICANN’s Generic Domains Division, wrote in his ICANN blog post, “From a big picture perspective, it signals the beginning of the
largest-ever expansion of the Domain Name System (DNS); a change that promises
to promote global innovation, competition and consumer choice.”

Soon after the release of the new gTLDs, there is what ICANN calls a
30-day “Sunrise” period. Atallah states, “All new gTLD Registry
operators must conduct a ‘Sunrise’ period of no less than 30 days. Following
this, operators are free to make their domains available to the public; a period
called General Availability.”

The first of gTLD delegations are all non-Latin, which are also officially
called the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) gTLDs, or strings, and are:

  • شبكة (xn--ngbc5azd)
    – Arabic for Web or Network. Registry: International Domain Registry Pty. Ltd.
  • онлайн
    (xn--80asehdb) – Russian for Online. Registry: CORE Association
  • сайт
    (xn--80aswg) – Russian for Web site. Registry: CORE Association
  • 游戏
    (xn--unup4y) – Chinese for Game. Registry: Spring Fields, LLC

The first delegated gTLDs demonstrate the effort ICANN
is making to elevate the Internet across universal access beyond borders and
boundaries. Atallah writes, “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.”

What will be in the forthcoming rounds of gTLD delegations?

It’s difficult to predict, though the record of new gTLD current application status gives you an idea of the pool that remains
to be selected. The priority list at the time of this writing is 1,917
applications. You can also see which applicants are at the top of the list. Pontifical
Council for Social Communication, Amazon EU S.à r.l., International Domain
Registry Pty. Ltd., and Shangri‐La International Hotel Management Limited are
currently at the top.

Additional reading