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All what you need to know about new gTLDs!
Introduction to new gTLDs.
The era of the new Internet has just began with revolutionary changes being introduced step by step by the Internet Corporation for the Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). With the release of over 600 of new generic Top Level Domains (new gTLDs) by 2015, the face of the Internet as we know it is about to change.
The new extensions, such as .SPORT, .HOLIDAY, .MARKETING, .LAW and many others, will allow Internet users worldwide to make their unique online presence more relevant. With thousands of names to choose from, everyone will be able to register the perfect domain of their choosing, going beyond the established .COM, .ORG or .NET.
Popularity of new domains.
According to the recent data, there have been over 200 new gTLDs approved to be released to the Net. Among those available for registration, there are 14 new generic TLDs that have passed the 10 000 registration mark and there is a total of 27 new gTLDs with more than 5 000 registrations.
The first new gTLD to cross the 50 000 registrations mark is the .GURU domain, followed by geo TLD .BERLIN with 45 700 registrations and .PHOTOGRAPHY with 32 000 registrations.
In light of the those dynamic changes, brand owners especially may want to rethink their domain strategy. The changing Internet landscape will require a brand protection strategy in order to secure the brand identity and its corresponding domain names. Innovative means of marketing products and services will also be available to businesses in any industry. The possibilities are endless.
gTLD's launch phases
A typical new gTLD goes through three Launch phases:
- The Sunrise Phase (60 days)
During this phase, trademark holders with registered trademarks in the Trademark Clearinghouse can apply for domain names matching the trademark.
- Landrush Phase (30 days)
During this period more entities can apply for a domain name. In case there are more than one applicants for the same domain name, auctions will decide who gets the domain name.
- General Availability
This phase begins with the 7-day period of Early Access Registration after which the domain is available for registration by the general public without restrictions.
New gTLD's impact on Google search.
Domain specialists at ICANN seem to be convinced that the introduction of new domains will not negatively affect the Internet's stability and security. Some SEO experts, however, believe that the changes within the Net may influence online businesses with respect to conducting searches and listing the results.
Some changes have already been observed, for instance algorithms have been updated by some search engines to focus more on country code domains (ccTLDs). The result of such adjustments in Google, for example, is considering some ccTLDs as generic TLDs. Consequently, national domains such as .CO, .ME, .LA or .TV are treated as if they were equal to established TLDs such as .COM. This results in more traffic from outside of the country code domain. Should this trend be followed, new gTLDs may be expected to receive similar treatment in searches. Small enterprises and brands that cannot afford to acquire domain names in domains such as .COM should welcome the lift the new searches may offer.
It is not certain at this point how these search engine changes will affect Internet users' online experience. The introduction of new gTLDs is likely to give rise to numerous niche or locality-focused websites, allowing them to establish their online presence with content-relevant domains. The dynamic growth in registrations within geographic domains, such as .BERLIN or .TOKYO, indicates how important local ties become to the Internet users.
Protect your brand name!
New generic TLDs can greatly enhance searching for relevant sites, reaching specific audiences or promoting particular products or services. Brand and trademark holders should consider new strategies for maximising their online visibility as well as protecting their brand names and good name.
With this in mind, trademark protection mechanism has been introduced by the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) to minimise the negative consequences of cybersquatting. Brand holders can now register their trademarks in one centralised database to protect their rights to their intellectual property. Brand name information is verified at TMCH before a domain name corresponding to that brand or trademark is registered. Further, TMCH can also notify a trademark holder when someone else registers a domain name that matches their trademark record in the TMCH database.
Thanks to the new generic TLDs, the Internet landscape will transform into a more diversified environment in which all users can establish their unique presence. New opportunities will arise for trademark holders, business entities, organisations, individuals and communities, opening the door to more meaningful experience. ICANN has developed its New gTLD Program to promote more choice and competition on the Web. A wide scope of new extensions should be helpful in increasing online traffic, generating more business, opening new markets, forming new relationships or finding like-minded people.