New gTLD FAQ

faq

What are new gTLDs?

New gTLDs are the approximately 1,400 extensions that are joining the likes of .COM, .EDU, and .ORG  over the course of the coming months.

Why are new gTLDs being added to the Internet? Is .COM full?

The idea behind new gTLDs was to open up additional space in which companies could innovate – for example, by creating new communities of Internet users around a particular brand, product, service, or interest. New gTLDs have also been created to expand consumer choices. “.BRAND” TLDs will be safe, trusted places because their authenticity will be verifiable and the brand will control security and content throughout the entire domain. In many cases, new gTLDs will offer more intuitive domain names that will be easier for consumers to locate. A lot of the best, most intuitive second-level names (the text to the left of the dot) are already taken in .COM, but there’s still plenty of room left for creative domain names (and sometimes, domain name holders will sell their domain name to an interested buyer).

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Will .COM, .ORG, etc. disappear?

No. All current gTLDs will remain as viable web addresses. Many companies did not apply for new gTLDs, so their main websites will remain in the old gTLDs. Many Internet users may prefer to use the previously launched gTLDs with which they are familiar.

How do new gTLDs affect me?

A whole new world of Internet sites is opening up for you to explore. You may join communities of people who share your interests. Navigating will be easier if the brand or subject matter you are looking for has a new gTLD. You can be certain the content on a branded gTLD will be authentic and the site will be secure because brand owners want their customers to have good online experiences. You will also have to exercise caution on unbranded gTLDs to avoid fraud, scams, phishing expeditions, etc., which will certainly find their way into the new space as they have in the current space.

Were there previous TLD expansion periods?

Yes, though they were much more limited in scope. In 1985, the first gTLDs – .COM, .ORG, .GOV, .EDU, .MIL, and .NET – were launched. Between 2000 and 2004, .AERO, .NAME, .COOP, .INFO, .BIZ, .PRO, and .MUSEUM were launched. In 2010, .XXX was launched.

How long has this new gTLD program been in development?

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ICANN has said that the expansion of new gTLDs has been the plan since its inception in 1996, but the gTLD Program has been in the works in earnest since 2008. On June 20, 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a program to dramatically expand the number of gTLDs. Established corporations, organizations, or institutions in good standing could apply for essentially any word or phrase as a new gTLD, including brand names, generic terms, geographic names, and terms in non-Latin characters, such as .中文网, or “website”in Chinese. The cost per application: $185,000 per top-level domain name, plus $25,000 a year to run and maintain the gTLD.

How do you get a gTLD?

The application period for this round of new gTLDs ended in 2012, but ICANN has suggested that it will hold another round of gTLD in the future.

So, who applied for new gTLDs?

Applicants are almost equally divided between brand name companies that will control all second-level domain names under their new gTLDs and companies that intend to sell second-level domain names to the public for profit. Unofficial categories that you can expect to see are .BRANDs (.WALMART), .GENERICS (.MUSIC), and .GEO (.NYC).

What’s a second-level domain name and do they cost as much as a new gTLD?

A second-level domain name is the string of characters that appears to the left of the dot in a URL, such as “Google” in the web address google.com. Second-level domains can be purchased for as little as $6 a year in open gTLDs. When a new gTLD launches, businesses pay a premium price to secure domain names that are eponymous to their trademarks, usually at the cost of about $200 per domain name.

What is the difference between an open, closed, or restricted gTLD?

An open gTLD makes second-level domains available to the public. A closed registry does NOT make second-level domains available to the public. A restricted gTLD provides second-level domains ONLY to specific categories of registrants, according to guidelines that it will outline, much the way .GOV and .EDU operate now.

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What is the difference between a registry, registrar, and registrant?

A registry owns and controls a top-level domain (TLD). The owner of .COM, for example, is a company – or registry – called Verisign. A registrar sells and administers second-level domains after buying domain space from the registry. The biggest registrar is Go Daddy. A registrant is the buyer of a second-level domain, so Google is the registrant of google.com. You could become a registrant since second-level domain names go for as little as $6 a year. But it takes major capital to be a registry or a registrar. All companies that applied for gTLDs will become registries, though they may contract out some of the technical work required; some may also become their own registrars, though many will contract out that technical work.

Suppose no one uses the new gTLDs?

Registrations in new gTLDs have already started to climb, and because industry leaders like Google and Amazon invested heavily in new gTLDs – 101 and 76 applications respectively – it’s highly likely to certain that new gTLDs will not only be used, but will impact how consumers receive content and even search for content.

Does the U.S. government control new gTLDs?

No. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched the New gTLD Program in 2011. Although established by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1998, ICANN is a private, non-profit, international organization comprised of “stakeholders” from all over the world – governments, businesses, non-commercial users, Internet Service Providers, companies that sell domain names to the public (registrars), companies that operate top level domains (registries), and individuals.

What exactly does ICANN do?

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ICANN coordinates, develops policy on, and administers technical aspects of the Internet’s operation. It oversees and ensures the integrity of the Domain Name System – the names (URLs) and numbers (IP addresses) that enable computers to find one another to form a global Internet. Each website or email address has a unique name or number, know as unique identifiers. Think of it as the Internet’s phone book. ICANN oversees this complex network of unique identifiers, divvies up IP addresses among regions of the world, accredits registrars who sell second-level domains, and sets related policy.

When will these new gTLDs be operable?

The first gTLDs are up and running, and more will be made available in the weeks and months to come. You search to see which gTLDs are already live here, and you can sign up for launch alerts here.