Domain Name Game about to get more interesting
ICANN (the governing body of domain names) has approved an unprecedented change to open up the top level domains (currently 22 top level domains exist including the typical .com, .net, and .org) to include the creation of new domains in any language or script. ICANN will soon be launching a global campaign to raise awareness and is currently looking for applications from companies that want wanting to manage these new domains.
What does this mean to you? Many of our clients have sought to register their primary domain name in many or all of the available top level domains. This may have just gotten a lot tougher or possibly even financially impossible. For example ZDNet mentioned possible domain names for Boeing; .airplane, .dreamliner, or .777. Essentially anything can be a domain name extension now.
While it's too early to tell (the application process alone runs till April 12th, of 2012) this is going to bring new challenges for branding, identity, and even Web IT professionals as we all try to sort out the sudden flexibility that never existed before. Remembering a Web site address will even get tougher.
One example of the new challenges is that we've generally been able to assume that a valid e-mail address had the format of firstname.lastname@example.org where .ext had 2-4 characters. When these top level domain names get added to the system, an extension could have a dozen or more characters.
On the positive side, companies may be able to get that short domain name they've always wanted just by adding a new extension. How about BANG.web for instance?
So what do you think? Opportunity or pain in the rear?