Next year, there might be a thousand new domains to choose from

ICANN just published a list of all the new top-level domains (like .com and .net) that are being requested. It received almost two thousand applications for new gTLDs (generic top-level domains). The approval process for these new domains is quite strict, but given the number of applications, it is likely that at least several hundred will be approved. These include new geographic extensions (.africa, .london), brand names (.google, .apple), and others (.baby, .lol).

Successful applicants will become registry providers for their domain(s). What that means is if you want to register mywebsite.apple, you’ll have to go through Apple (or a reseller) to buy the domain. However, many of the new registries will likely allow their names to be purchased through current registrars like GoDaddy.

For the average person or business, the question in the air right now isn’t “should I get my own gTLD?” (it costs over a hundred thousand dollars just to start the process). It’s “do I need to get ready to buy five hundred new domains next year?”

It’s become pretty accepted to buy up all of the gTLDs for your domain. You get the big three with mybusiness.com, mybusiness.net, and mybusiness.org. Maybe you branch out into .co, .info, .tv, .biz, .us, .co.uk… That list has really been getting longer and longer lately, hasn’t it? And we haven’t seen the half of it yet (literally). Will it be worth scooping up mybusiness.hughes and mybusiness.lifestyle? Will I look unprofessional if I don’t jump on them right away and some schmoe in the U.K. gets mybusiness.wales?

My prediction is that over the next year or two, the expectation to buy your domain on every gTLD will fade. You won’t have to buy five hundred new domains, just two or three. If you sell baby blankets, of course you’re going to want babyblankets.baby. But it doesn’t matter if some rich old lady knitting club wants to buy up babyblankets.yachts. It really doesn’t. Even if you’re bracing yourself to collect all 1,930 new gTLDs as they come out, are you ready to do the same thing the next time ICANN starts collecting applications?

I think it’s a great thing that most people won’t be buying their domain on every single gTLD any more. It’ll open up some good names on the newer domains and save companies the hassle of keeping track of dozens (or thousands) of registrations. Besides, won’t the world be better off if horn.car and horn.unicorn are two different companies?

by Sharon Campbell

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