ICANN Approves New Top-Level Domains
The Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently approved the addition of new Top-Level Domains (TLD’s), which will drastically alter the way the internet domains are structured.
Previously, standard TLD’s were used for websites, basing them on a .com, .co.uk, .net (etc) domain depending on either the type of website (.tv for video based websites for example) or the location (like .co.uk for the United Kingdom, .hk for Hong Kong, etc). However, the recently approved TLD’s will allow branded domains (such as .nike, .ufc, etc), as well as generic ones (.car, .bike, .typography, etc).
You can imagine the benefit of having both branded and generic TLD’s, but before you start planning how you can incorporate these new domains into your internet marketing campaigns, you should probably consider the price – applications alone cost $180,000, and domain renewal will come in at $25,000 per year.
Whilst that prices that majority of small businesses and sole traders out of the market, larger organisations will have no problem with paying those sorts of fees for highly desirable TLD’s.
Applications for the new TLD’s open in January 2012 and will run until mid-April, with the new domains appearing in around 12 months.
It’s hard to say how the new TLD’s will affect SEO, but my guess at this stage would be that they won’t make a huge difference. What I would expect is a drastic shift into how companies brand themselves online, as well as numerous legal actions surrounding branding and trademarks.