The Internet is about to get a lot more complicated, with a huge uptick in the number of web addresses allowed.
Web addresses currently must include one of the 22 standard suffixes (.com, .org and so forth) or one of the approximately 250 country suffixes (.uk, .fr, .ca etc.).
That’s all about to change.
According to a story on NPR’s All Tech Considered the organization charged with governing Web names is poised to dramatically increase the number of “top-level domains” or TLDs available.
“Suffixes like .org, .net and .com are the most common [TLDs] on the Internet today. But the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers [ICANN], which governs Web names, plans to add some 1,400 more, some ending in Arabic or Chinese characters.”
This comes two years after ICANN announced it would begin taking applications to allow companies to create their own URLs “to turn their own brands into Internet domain extensions or to create broad generic strings such as .CAR, .SPORTS or .BANK,” according to this NextWeb article.
NPR’s Yuki Noguchi explains some of the concerns expressed about potential fraud and misuse of these new TLDs.
“For example, imagine anyone besides Hilton owning Hilton.hotels. Or consider transferring money using a site ending in a misspelled version of .wellsfargo. You begin to get a sense of the potential pitfalls.”
ICANN claims to have a handle on these kinds of problems, according to the organization’s CEO Fadi Chehade.
“We have a whole regime of enforcement,” Chehade says, “leading all the way up to revoking.”
It’s an interesting twist to the Web address, and will surely pose a challenge for marketers as they make the move from DOT-COM to DOT-Brand.
Side note: Want to lay claim to the new top-level domains that relate to your business? Domain name registration company 101Domains.com will let you put a non-binding claim on the domains you want, and then buy them when the new extensions become available. I expect they’ll be busy! Some restrictions apply so be sure to check the fine print.
Keep an eye out for freeport.press in the future!