Global web registry unveils huge expansion of domain system
A dramatic increase in the number of approved domain endings has been given the thumbs-up by naming board Icann, paving the way for what could be a massive change in corporate web strategy.
The Icann board approved the change at a special meeting in Singapore earlier today, effectively ending the current and increasingly restrictive 22 domain extensions (such as .com, .co.[country], .biz, etc) and opening the system up to an almost infinite number of new forms.
The expansion of the so-called Generic Top-Level Domain system will allow companies or individuals to create extensions based on geography, brand name, subjects, groups or individuals.
Perhaps most importantly the programme will see the introduction of the entire offering also in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts.
The new endings will start hitting in the web during 2012, with organisations and individuals urged to apply to Icann between January 12 2012 and April 12 2012.
The move is being heralded as one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the web, with Icann in particular calling it the dawn of a “new internet age”.
The travel industry, of course, has heard some this rhetoric before, when Tralliance oversaw the introduction of the .travel domain in 2005, a programme which still has an amazing ability to divide opinion across the sector.
Thousands of travel organisations have registered .travel domain extensions, but it is still relatively rare to find publicised web address using the .travel moniker.
In the early days of the .travel initiative there were concerns about indexing and search engine optimisation issues, worries which will once again be multiplied on a grander scale again with Icann’s decision today.
There does appear to be an acceptance that major change is not only needed by will be embraced by organisations. Domain seller Sedo has research which says 58% of companies would be keen to run their own domain name extension if the opportunity came up.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.