The ICANN board (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names And Numbers) overwhelmingly approved the gTLD program when they voted in Singapore on Friday afternoon. In the vote only 1 member voted against the new program, and one member abstained from voting.
The new gTLD Program will allow hundreds of new TLD’s (Top Level Domains) to be registered. The Top Level Domains are currently limited to 22 such as .com; . org; .gov; etc. as well as country domains such as .co.za; .nz; .uk; etc.
THe New GTLD program will be open for registrations from the 12th of January, 2012 and applications will close on April 12th, 2012. These applications will be reviewed and it appears that no new TLDs will be operational until November 2013.
This will mark the first round of registration and ICANN has previously stated that no more than 1 000 TLDs will be approved within any one round.
The last reported figure was that a successful TLD application will cost in the region of US$185 000; so while this may be a worthwjile exercise to secure your own company TLD; it is seriously going to put you out of pocket when you do.
ICANN has stipulated that applicants need to show a seriously vested interest in registering new TLD’s and that applications would be judged primarily on the supporting documentation and compelling reasons for ownership.
I am sure that in the near future we can expect to see many new TLD from big business such as : .coke; .apple; .bmw.
An interesting space to watch will be how the search engines rank and rate these new domains and if they are still use the same general guidelines.