The Future of the Internet

To spice things up, ICANN (the non-profit organization in charge of internet domain names) has opened up new Top Level Domains (gTLD) for purchase.  Currently there are 22 gTLD, including .com, .net, .co etc.  But there are going to be a lot more domain endings (to replace .com) coming soon.

What sort of domains?

Well, to be honest, anything you want.

The Old gTLDs

Everybody knows .com: it’s the standard, the worn and rusty but solid gTLD that most people want when creating a website for themselves.  The com in .com stands for commercial, and was created in 1985.

.net, .org, .mil, .gov, soon followed.  Most countries have their own domain names (called country code top-level domains, or ccTLD), such as .de (for Germany), .fr (for France), and so on.

Things Are Changing

ICANN has opened up a new registration process where businesses or organization can apply for their own ccTLD, or word after the dot.

What does this mean?  Say you were a huge internet company… let’s say, Amazon.com.  With this new registration system, you could apply for .amazon domain names, so that in the future, customers might buy music from the domain address:

http://music.amazon

instead of something like

http://amazon.com/music.

You might find movies at movies.amazon, and so on.  The .amazon would replace the .com

Pretty interesting right?  Would you like one of your own?

Sorry, that’ll be $180,000 to sign up and $25,000 (or more) per year.

ICANN is RICH!

There were over 1,930 applications for this new TLD process.  At 185k a pop for the sign up process, ICANN brought in $357,000,000.

.Who?

Google, which applied for the domains through a company called “Charleston Road Registry,” applied for over 100.  Amazon.com applied for a similarly large amount.

Here is a list of the most interesting.  (By the way, want to know what the most lucrative search terms are according to some of the biggest internet companies?  This list should lay that out quite clearly).

A sample of domain names that google applied for:

.ads

.and

.android

.app

.are

.baby

.blog

.boo

.book

A sample of domain names that Amazon applied for:

.Amazon

.app

.audible

.author

.aws

.book

.bot

.box

.buy

Other interesting domains applied for

.casa

.catholic

.chat

.cloud

.diet

.fail

.hiphop

.sucks

(You can see the full list here).

The Future of the Internet

It remains to be seen what the outcome of all these new domain names will be like.  It seems like it could be a confusing time, trying to figure out if you should go to google.com or search.goog or google.com/search, but the reality is, no one cares in the end.  If you want to go somewhere on the internet, the average user just types the destination they want into the search bar and let Google show them the way.

This will have a big impact on advertising, for sure, and it will definitely have a big impact on SEO (search engine optimization).  Will Google.com give precedence to these new domain names?  If you are an ice cream shop, will chocolate.icecream outrank yourstorename.com/chocolate in the search results?  Probably.

You can bet that spammers and web squatters are not buying up these domain names to exploit at 180k per name.

There could also be some really cool outcomes.  The site Donuts.co is bidding on a ton of new names, but it has not been revealed why, only that they have received $100,000,000 (one hundred million) in funding.  Wouldn’t it be cool if you could buy a domain name to attach to one of their new TLDs?

Imagine if I could register for the name sean.awesome (if they owned .awesome) or sean.drummer (if they owned .drummer).  There are a lot of really cool possibilities I can think of, but since this is the internet, my prediction is that I couldn’t possibly imagine how all this will shake down, and all the coolness that will result.

Change Is Scary

Change is scary, but then you adapt.  Otherwise, you’re still listening to 8 Tracks in your Ford Pinto.  No one wants that (cept these guys, maybe).

If you want to read some more articles about this, check out one from the bbc, and one from readwriteweb.