The Internet landscape will soon change drastically, following ICANN’s Board decision to approve a new gTLD program that allows the registration of custom domain name suffixes, such as .dice, .google or really just about dot.anything — even using non-Latin characters like Chinese and Arabic.
“ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.
Amateur domain squatters might see this as a great money-making opportunity, but the high barriers to entry will keep them at bay.
It will cost $185,000 to apply, $25,000 for annual renewals and each applicant will be required to show a legitimate claim to the name they want. Applications will be accepted between January 12 and April 12 2012, with the first approval coming by the end of the year.
Canon and Hitachi were among the first to show interest in registering their own gTLD. More corporations are expected to follow to secure their online identity, which is especially crucial for tech companies like Google and Yahoo!.
It’s still too early to tell how the decision will impact the Net’s ecosystem, but it’s a sure thing that users will initially be confused by the lack of conventional domain suffixes on some sites. After all, the .com has been around for 26 years.