Thousands of new domain name extensions are set to revolutionise the web

Over a century ago, gold was discovered in Colonia, California, ushering in the famous 1848 California gold rush, as over 300,000 opportunists rushed to find their fortune in the dirt. To stake their claim, each laid out a boundary and promptly filed it with the closest assay office to secure the plot.

A short lived period in history, but one that was very rewarding for individuals smart enough and quick enough to recognise the value of the land beneath their feet.

Fast forward to today, and there is another gold rush happening – an online gold rush.

As of February 2014, hundreds of new domain name extensions have been released to the public, sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Each of these unique identities offers a solid plot for future web businesses and online entities to be built upon, as long as they stake their claim before it’s too late.

What’s in a name?

Let’s face it: it’s hard to stand out in the vast landscape of today’s SEO-driven internet, especially when it comes to your web address. If your business (like most others) was late to the .com game, your URL might leave a lot to be desired.

For years, the Internet has been limited to just 22 generic top-level domains including .com, .net and .org, alongside country domains such as .jp for Japan or .ca for Canada. As a result, general-purpose domains have been very limited.

Until recently that is.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the organization responsible for Internet governance (a mammoth task to say the least), is rolling out an effort to greatly expand the number of top-level domains. These moves should have a dramatic effect on the structure of the modern web.

In case you weren’t sure exactly how it all works, here’s a brief rundown. The Top Level Domain (TLD) refers to the letters immediately following the final dot in an Internet address and represents a significant element of your domain name.  A generic top-level domain signifies that the domain extension is widely open for registration to anyone that wants to snatch it up.

A considered and carefully selected TLD is one of the key factors in improving the popularity of a site, shaping online presence and boosting brand recognition. The TLD is representative of the domain’s type and purpose and should never be overlooked.

Tell the world who you are and what you’re about.

Adding hundreds of generic top-level domains is intended to alleviate pressure on .com and other unrestricted domains. It will be easier for brands to obtain a memorable domain name as the selection of possible addresses is larger, plus domain seekers won’t have to compete with the whole world for their dream name. It could also reduce the misleading use of country codes. Furthermore, hundreds of new domain extensions will expand the Internet namespace, allowing countless new name configurations.

A more informatively labelled system will better connect people to the products, services, and individuals that matter to them.

Thanks to ICANN, businesses are being presented with the rare opportunity to make themselves stand out from the internet crowd, no longer constrained by ordinary .org’s and collective .com’s. There are now hundreds and, in the future, thousands of new domain name extensions (such as .guru, .club and .webcam), all waiting to be claimed by those seeking to add a splash of colour and personality to an otherwise grey URL bar.

New TLDs will be rolled out over the next year and beyond – so keep your eyes peeled for new releases and make sure you don’t miss out!


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