Source: Monday, June 20th, 2011

ICANN Approves Generic Top Level Domains

The universe of Top Level Domains is about to become a whole lot bigger.

At a meeting in Singapore today, ICANN voted to approve a new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) program that will dramatically expand the pool of names that become TLDs.

Currently there are only 22 TLDs including the popular .com, net and .org. Over the years, ICANN has voted incrementally to expand the pool of TLDs with additions such as .mobi, .tel and more recently .xxx.

The new gTLD plan opens up the playing field beyond the adhoc approach, creating a process and a system by which anyone can start the process to become a TLD for nearly any name.

ICANN has been debating the new gTLD program for the last several years and had previously voted to delay its approval at multiple points.

"ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination," Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN said in a statement. "Today's decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind."

Even though ICANN has now formally approved the gTLD plan, applications from interested parties for the new domains will have to wait until January 12th for the program to begin.

With the new gTLD program any company can register to have their own .brand TLD which opens up a big market for potential domain name owners and their service providers.

"This new gTLD policy is especially notable because of the opportunity for both brand protection and innovation that it presents to brands and businesses in the online realm," Ben Crawford, CEO of UK-based CentralNic and founder of dotBrand Solutions said. "With the creation of 'dot brand' domains, web addresses will be more intuitive for consumers and search engines. New gTLDs also present a brand-safe environment that respects the importance of trademark protection and is free from aggregators, fan sites, knock-off sites, phishing and brand abuse."

The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) isn't quite as upbeat about the new gTLD program and warns that it will create a challenge to trademark and copyright owners.

"While SIIA favored a targeted approach to address specific gTLD needs, such as non-latin script gTLDs, ICANN's approved program is extremely broad," Scott Bain, SIIA's Chief Litigation Counsel, said in a statement. "Intellectual property owners will need to familiarize themselves quickly with the Rights Protection Mechanisms in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook, and expend even more resources and time in enforcing their rights against cybersquatters and infringers."

While ICANN has been pushing on its plan for gTLDs for the last several years, historically speaking some Internet luminaries have not been in favor of domain expansion. Back in 2004, WWW creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee criticized plans to expand the available pool of domain names. At the time, Berners-Lee warned that new TLDs could lead to confusion from business that were trying to protect their brand names.

"They thought that they were protecting their brand and trademark but they were actually devaluing the .COM and .NET names," Berners-Lee said.

get the .brand buzz...

Etisalat secures top-level domain -

CentralNic Powers First New Top-Level Domains Announced by ICANN -

Expert view: Gavin Brown -

New domain names to break grip of tech giants
The IndependentIOL Scitech

The End of the Dot-Com Era? -

Dot-anything Web domain costs big .$$$ -

ICANN's Domain Expansion: Why .Metallica Makes Sense -

Your .brand gTLD: hopeful registry partners go into marketing overdrive -
World Trademark Review

How companies are coping with gTLD applications -
Managing Intellectual Property

DotBrand Solutions launches in the Middle East
AME Info
Zawya Alrroya
The National Trade Arabia
Gulf News
The Next Web
Al Watan The Peninsula

DotBrand Solutions in Germany IT Espresso DE Domain Recht

How ICANN's Approval of New Domains Will Change the Web -

Analysis: New Internet rules will spawn battle for "dots" -
Yahoo! News OnIslam CNBC MSNBC Arabian Business

Forget .com, here's .coke -
CNN Money

Experts clash on benefits of owning and managing .brand domains -

Site Name Broker Preparing for Suffix Explosion
LA Business Journal

Hundreds of dot-brand domains predicted -

New '.music' web domain worries recording industry -

Marketers debate usefulness of ICANN's new domain names -
BtoB Online

Drinks firms could profit from internet expansion -

ICANN Approves Custom Generic Top Level Domains -

ICANN approves top level domain name changes -

ICANN Approves Generic Top Level Domains -

Here come the domains -

Goodbye .Com, Hello .Anything -

ICANN Vanity Domains: A Caution for Midmarket Firms -

Top-Level Domains Will Help Web Growth & Reach -

.Branding: It's the End of the .com World as We Know It -

Dot-Brand: Get those applications ready -
Marketing Daily

Money Radio 1510 Interviews Ben Crawford - New gTLDs: A New Era for Brands on the Internet
Money Radio

Are You Ready for .anything? Generic Internet Domains on the Way -

Ben Crawford: Why Trademark Owners Are Acquiring Their .Brand TLDs "Defensively" -

A New Era for Internet Domains: Why .XXX Is Just the Beginning -

Squawk On The Street: Has The Internet Out Grown .Com? -

The Big Bang in Domain Names Is Coming - The CMO Site
the CMO site

Here Come the .Brand Top Level Domain Names - Domain Name Wire
Domain Name Wire

Introducing dot Brand Solutions - Launching Brands into a New Digital Landscape

Please direct PR enquiries to our London Headquarters on +44 20 33 88 0600 or via email at

next: DotBrand Solutions' events