UPDATED: ICANN approves domain name changes; .anythingyoulike coming soon

It’s a move that surprised no-one, having been the subject of much speculation for some time now. Despite the lack of raised eyebrows, though, a big change has just been approved to the internet domain name system by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the independent organisation responsible for managing domains across the interwebs.

ICANN has today given the go-ahead to a substantial increase in the number of generic top-level domains (such as .com and .net) from the present total of 22 up to a theoretically infinite number of gTLDs, as the stage has now been set for any organisation – including governments, businesses and non-profits – to operate their own gTLD using a word of their own choosing.

This would mean, for example, that you could one day find out about your next Apple handset at iphone.apple, or order a new phone at mobile.virgin.  Okay, maybe not that last one.

Organisations across the world have already signalled considerable interest in the new system. CircleID.com reports that, in anticipation of significant demand across Asia, international domain name registrar Afilias has allied with major web host HiChina, to help Asian companies to pursue what they call a “dot.BRAND” approach. Afilias senior VP Roland LaPlante said that “a dot.BRAND TLD lets major companies control how customers experience their brand online and helps break through the noise and clutter online”.

It remains to be seen whether or not these new gTLDs will really make things much (or at all) simpler for end-users, but either way, ICANN will be accepting applications from interested parties from 12 January to 12 April 2012. Between now and then, the organisation will be running a global campaign to generate some buzz around the changes, and to address any doubts and concerns that may arise about the value and efficacy of the new system.

And for anyone who might think all these changes are a waste of time, be inspired by the words of ICANN’s president and CEO, Rod Beckstrom, who believes that today’s decision “allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind”.

Update

As one or two of you have pointed out in the comments, the cost of acquiring one of these new gTLDs isn't for the fainthearted. The application cost alone is $185,000 per gTLD. You'll have to cough $5,000 just for the privilege of requesting the application form, and they'll be banging on your door for the other $180,000 as soon as you send your application form in.

And that's not the end of it. There are numerous stages of the application and approval process, and the further along in the process you get, the less money you'll get refunded if you decide to pull out. The more you progress, the more you pay too, and if someone disputes your right to a domain, resolution and arbitration will add thousands and thousands of bucks to the bill.

There's a great explanation on the application process and cost breakdown over at Geek.com.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Rumour: Thunderbolt-equipped Mac Mini and Mac Pro in August

Next Story

This week's highlights in new game releases: June 20-26

31 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

It won't be a cheap service, though, so it probably won't be abused much:


But these benefits don't come cheaply -- or easily. ICANN charges at $185,000 per domain application, which Crawford says typically must include about 150 pages of policy documents.

Technical setup takes another $100,000 or so, he says, and upkeep can cost an additional $100,000 each year.

This is what happens when you give up domain name sovereignty to the world body. They go and screw everything up. Just like the UN and IMF have done.

What a terrible idea.

I dont get why we don't have .corp, .inc in addition to .biz.

To Me Microsoft.corp and Digitas.inc make more sense than microsoft.msft or digitas.digitas

Well, seriously I do not see anyone remembering domain names anymore, I see people using google all the time go to any site, even to google ! they just type "microsoft" or "google" in the browser search\address bar to go there.

Domain names are becoming more and more pointless IMHO, its more like someone trying to buy a "special" mobile number, with many repeated or funny digit combination, while all of his friends just save his\her name on the mobile, and never care what the number is, they just type first few letters of his\her name when need to dial\sms.

Poor idea, there will be far tooo many TLDs for people to remember. A lot of people now don't know about .biz or .info etc.

not seeing where your getting these prices, but i will admit hard to read original story with no source link.

I'm leaning towards this being a bad idea, but I'd need to see what happens to be certain. On the one hand, having http://www.majesticmerc.isawesome (regardless of how true it is) is an awful domain name and not particularly meaningful compared to http://www.majesticmerc.info for example. On the other hand, gTLDs for big brand names might work (although still not as well as the existing gTLDs). For example, http://www.windows.microsoft is better than windows.microsoft.com, but still not as good as "http://www.microsoft.info/windows";.

Hopefully, the high cost of entry will prevent any abuse, but $180000 isn't a massive amount for a reseller that registers the .isawesome domain, and then sells domains for £10 a year.

I agree. You know someone will try to register .com using Cyrillic letters. Imagine all the phishing attempts that will happen.

Edited by Einlander, Jun 20 2011, 9:30am :

It's not a terrible idea. I mean, the biggest concern is people registering stupid suffixes but the cost ($180,000) and the requirements for genuine use should keep most of the crap out. There is a concern about remembering domains still, though. You'd need like a .com main site still but perhaps you could use the new ones for novelty.

Nashy said,
This is just going to be annoying. People remember .com, .net etc. People won't remember .imsocool
But people will remember like;

news.bbc
iplayer.bbc
weather.bbc

or

zune.msft
xbox.msft
live.msft
ect...

Nashy said,
This is just going to be annoying. People remember .com, .net etc. People won't remember .imsocool

People don't remember sh*t. They google the domain name they're looking for and click the first or second link.

Most internet users still don't know or care whether they're visiting a .net/.com/.edu/.xxx as long as they can have their pr0n, uninterrupted.

Heck most of my friends don't even know the intent of the existing TLD system in spite of me trying to educate them.

Seems like it would just end up annoying the user rather than "to better serve all of mankind". What a cheesy line lol, somebody thinks too highly of themselves

buckhole said,
Seems like it would just end up annoying the user rather than "to better serve all of mankind". What a cheesy line lol, somebody thinks too highly of themselves

For end users, it would be a nightmare since it would open the flood gates for the phishing attacks..

Present system helps to identify the original website via TLD, now with new system gTLD..

news.bbc / bbc.news / bbc.live.news / bbc.iplayer.live and so on ?? How many domains would BBC have to buy to secure their users for phishing attacks ??

Choto Cheeta said,

For end users, it would be a nightmare since it would open the flood gates for the phishing attacks..

Present system helps to identify the original website via TLD, now with new system gTLD..

news.bbc / bbc.news / bbc.live.news / bbc.iplayer.live and so on ?? How many domains would BBC have to buy to secure their users for phishing attacks ??

To be honest, if people check the domain name for to ensure anit-phishing, then they have more problems then phishing attacks. If the site they are trying to sign into or is asking for details, then it should be using SSL and the SSL certificate should be what they're looking at.

sagum said,

To be honest, if people check the domain name for to ensure anit-phishing, then they have more problems then phishing attacks. If the site they are trying to sign into or is asking for details, then it should be using SSL and the SSL certificate should be what they're looking at.

And the average persons eyes just glazed over as they clicked on whatever link was in front of them...

I don't know whether it allows the domain name system to better serve *all* of mankind because those of us who wish to set up a personal website cannot purchase our own gTDL. I'd like callum.[something], but all of the decent gTDLs are already taken, so it would be great if I could create my own for an affordable price; unfortunately, that doesn't seem possible.

ICANN's president and CEO, Rod Beckstrom said
allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind

what a waste of time

[translated]

ICANN thinks it can make a bucket load of money from this.