ICANN Approves Plan for New Domain Names
At this point, there are 22 gTLDs, including .com, .org, and .net. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), however, have approved a plan that would allow people to apply for new gTLDs, like .pcmag, for example.
"Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age," Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN's board of directors, said in a statement. "We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration."
That creativity won't come cheap, however. Applicants must pay a $185,000 evaluation fee, with $5,000 upfront. They might also be required to pay even more "in certain cases where specialized process steps are applicable," in addition to business startup costs, ICANN said.
ICANN will soon kick off a global campaign publicizing the new gTLD option, and will accept applications between January 12 and April 12. When the application period closes, ICANN will publish a list of all requested gTLDs, at which time people can file objections.
The actual evaluation process could take between eight and 18 months; ICANN has a lengthy applicant guidebook against which applications will be assessed. If you wanted to apply for two similar or related TLDs, you would have to file two applications—and pay two $185,000 fees. But ICANN warns that "the application process is currently designed to not allow two strings that are 'confusingly similar' to each other."
Once it's approved, meanwhile, "the applicant is required to conclude an agreement with ICANN and pass technical predelegation tests" before the gTLD will be live on the Web, ICANN said.
If you miss your window next year, ICANN expects to hold additional application rounds in the future.
"ICANN has opened the Internet's naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today's decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind," said Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN.
For PCMag Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff's take on the decision, see ICANN's New Domain Policy Resets the Web.
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