ICANN Haz Generic Top-Level Domains, Too? Net Registrar Opens Up Floodgates

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Remember when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) released the .xxx top-level domain suffix last year? If you don’t, you may want to check out NPR’s recap of the story.  With these new domain suffixes, ICANN is now allowing anyone to purchase the .xxx top-level domains and many schools and businesses have done so as an extra step to protect their brand and identity. Now, ICANN has announced that they are accepting applications for generic top-level domains.

If your company has ever had the desire to customize your domain, the possibilities will soon be endless – for a cost of course. For around $185,000 you can submit your application to be evaluated; more funds may be required following the evaluation. It seems that no matter the cost, many companies are ready to shell out the dough in order to customize their domain.

A large number of organizations, businesses and even government sectors such as the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Dept. of Commerce have expressed their immense concern with the new domain system. These groups have even requested that ICANN hold off on advancing with the new system so that they can better prepare for possible consequences. ICANN, which does not fall under these department’s authority, has decided to move forward.

Why so much worry? With more domain suffixes comes a greater ability for scammers to “squat” on particularly important domains. Anybody with a fake name could easily register, for example, Hilton.hotels or any other domain suffix and create problems for the real Hilton. Whereas brands only had to protest their .com website, not they have to worry about protecting their brand from an entire gauntlet of suffixes.

Like all major changes with the internet, a sense of both excitement and worry has developed among the online world. Some argue that security will be at greater risk for exposure to threats, while others have expressed their certainty that security will improve with customized domains.  ICANN has set the window to close in April for all applicants, so soon enough we will see how these domain changes affect our everyday internet experience.