Get details about ICANN's generic top-level domains (gTLDs) program, which was developed to increase competition and choice in the domain name space.
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.
- ICANN gTLD – About the Program – The new gTLD program was developed to increase competition and choice in the domain name space.
- ICANN IDNs – These names use character sets such as Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic, or any other characters outside of the US-ASCII. An IDN variant TLD can be defined as one that may look like or be considered exchangeable with another TLD by a user of the related writing system.
- ICANN's gTLD program and what it means to your business – In this January 2012 TechRepublic article, I describe ICANN's application program for gTLD names and share attorney David Weslow's input on the complicated issues that may arise.
- ICANN's expanded domain name offerings coming soon – In this July 2012 TechRepublic article, I ask David Weslow about the expanded set of domain names and, specifically, how applications will be decided and some of the consequences.
- Intellectual property, copyright, and the cloud: More details on the law for web masters and developers – In this July 2011 TechRepublic article, I ask David Weslow about how the cloud could affect intellectual property, copyright issues, and the impact of the new gTLDs and what it means for businesses.