ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has decided to get rid of the current domain name extension restrictions that are currently in place to make way for additional top level domains. Currently domain name extensions are limited to 21 top level domain extensions and various country domain extensions.
Now everyone can bid for a new domain name extension which will cost a minimum of $100K. In addition, applicants must be
capable of operating (or paying someone to operate) registry services. This makes it likely that only corporations and current registrars will bid for new domain name extensions.
It is most likely that some domain extensions will be registered right away, .blog, .news or .wiki are likely candidates among others. It's not clear if and how end users will be able to register domains with those new domain extensions yet. Will there be a pricing limit or will the new registrar be able to specify any price that they wants ?
Back to the initial expectation. If everyone can register new domain extensions expect to see a rapid increase in available domain name extensions. This will lead to a massive increase in domain registrations that make use of the new domain extensions. All popular dictionary words and short domains will be taken in no time and many of them will find their way into the search engines.
One thing that has to be considered though is how the search engines will react when new domain name extensions emerge. Not everything is set to stone yet and it will be interesting to see when ICANN announces the process formally.
Update: The New Generic Top-Level Domains page over at the ICANN website is now live. Companies and individuals can apply to register new generic top level domains right there.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.