June 20, 2011 – At its 41st public meeting in Singapore, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board of Director’s voted in favour of expanding the realm of top-level domains. The vote to make such a significant change to the Internet’s Domain Name System was unanimous (13 in favour, 1 opposed and 2 abstaining). This decision marks a huge milestone in the history of the Internet
ICANN was founded more than ten years ago as a not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder organization dedicated to coordinating the Internet’s addressing system, one of its foundational principles has been to promote competition in the domain name marketplace while ensuring Internet security and stability.
The Board of Directors approved this plan to dramatically increase the number of Internet domain name endings — called generic top-level domains (gTLDs) — from the current 22, which includes such familiar domains as .com, .org and .net.
This is the biggest change in the system, since it started twenty-six (26) years ago.
Currently there are over 1.6 billion internet users and there are ninety-four (94) million sites registered at .com, the most popular suffix name.
The new gTLD Program (generic top-level domains) will change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organizations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways.
The decision to proceed with the gTLD program follows many years of discussion, debate and deliberation with the Internet community, business groups and governments. The Applicant Guidebook, a rulebook explaining how to apply for a new gTLD, went through seven significant revisions to incorporate more than 1,000 comments from the public. Strong efforts were made to address the concerns of all interested parties, and to ensure that the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet are not compromised.
ICANN will ensure that before these new gTLD’s go on sale, that there is an extensive period for a public awareness and education campaign. If you are able to raise $185,000.00 U.S.D by April, 2012, you can make an application for a new gTLD with ICANN.
The new video, “Get Ready for the Next Big .Thing: An Overview of New gTLDs,” provides an early example of educational materials that ICANN will produce to raise awareness. In about seven minutes, the video explains the basics of the domain name industry and of new gTLDs to potential applicants, whether they hail from communities, businesses, or governments. The video lists both the opportunities and the challenges of deciding to run a registry.
Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012.