Ever dreamed of snagging a top level domain name (TLD), with instant recognition? Unless you were buying up .comâ€™s a decade ago, you didnâ€™t have much chance of securing a top drawer domain name â€“ until today. Want to try .Jeep, .McDonalds or even .ketchup? These are just a few of the 1930 top level domains that have been applied for, with some of the worldâ€™s biggest corporations vying for control of business names (like .apple, applied for by Apple) and generic terms like .football, .hotels and even .blog.Â The good news is that you can look forward to getting such innovative domain name types now.Â Thereâ€™s a bit of a catch though â€“ the new registrars may release registrations for fresh TLDâ€™s in their own time and at their own prices. They will have the authority from ICANN to do so after paying a hefty $185,000 for each TLD they want to own.
What is ICANN, and what do they have to do with the big reveal?Â
ICANN is short for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and was formed as a non-profit in 1998 to organize and catalogue the various web addresses available on the Internet. This task was originally performed by the United States government. Top level domain name disputes and the like are handled through ICANN, using the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which users must agree to every time they register a domain name.
Fierce competition for popular top level domain names
Some of the biggest competition for TLDâ€™s can be spotted with a quick review as per ICANN’s revelation â€“ each of the following TLDâ€™s garnered multiple applications, with some very familiar companies vying for the same real estate. The biggest TLDâ€™s on Reveal Day (thatâ€™s yesterday, when ICANN made all the TLD-applicantsâ€™ information public) are all generic or category terms, and some of the biggest companies in the world are fighting over them.
Top 10 Most Popular Reveal Day Domain Names:
- .app (the winner, with 13 applications)
- .inc (11 applications)
- .home (11 applications)
- .art (10 applications)
- .book (9 applications)
- .blog (9 applications)
- .movie (8 applications)
- .music (8 applications)
- .news (7 applications)
- .cloud (7 applications)
Analyzing the list of domain names on Reveal Day shows some interesting results. Some companies naturally applied to secure the names that made sense, with Nissan applying for .Infiniti and Nike, Inc. applying for .Nike. Other companies went for a huge domain name real estate grab â€“ powerhouses like Google, Amazon and Bing are taking a more diversified strategy to cover trademarks, core business, user experience and â€œcreative potential.â€
Just what are they doing with these names, anyway?
Companies are snatching up the top level domains announced on ICANNâ€™s Reveal Day for many different reasons, but a few stand out. They either want to protect the company image and maintain branding, or they want to profit by using a familiar, possibly generic extension.
Brand protection is huge, with concerns about cybersquatting running rampant. Aside from protecting your own brand, memorability and marketing potential is the other big motivation for securing a top level domain â€“ having a .app extension is certainly seen as a good thing by 13 of the worldâ€™s biggest companies. Content farm Demand Media went with the second option, securing a diverse group of domain names, including .army, .republican and .democrat.
What does this news mean to small business owners?
If you own a small business, you can expect to be a little confused by the influx of newer domain name extensions in the near future. Which domain name extensions should you secure with brand names for your business â€“ and will you have to pay more to grab them? Some niches will have fierce completion, which may affect end prices â€“ auctions could drive prices up considerably on favorable domain names, or for those simply seeking to protect their own names and brands.
While ICANN has entered new territory on Reveal Day â€“ letting domain name inventory to jump from about 20 top level domain names to just shy of 2000, there are a few domain names that should be of special interest to small business owners:
- Your own or a related brand name, if applicable
- The domain name that closely matches your niche or industry. Names like .baby, .hotel and .diet are good for niche providers. Look at the complete list to determine which terms fit your particular niche.
- Choose domain names that support your business in a variety of ways. You probably already have your business .com, but consider your business name with a .book, .app or .blog as well.
- General generic terms like .discount or .coupon may apply if you are selling a service or product, or your site features a popular service or product.