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Update on the new gTLDs

It is only natural to wonder what interest there is in launching tens, hundreds, or (in a few years) thousands of new extensions, knowing that there is already over 240 of them to choose from.

It is widely known that the domain name space (and particularly that of .com) is currently saturated, and yet that extension is the most popular on the web. .com domains are clearly recognized as a generic worldwide extension for company websites. Only a few markets such as the United Kingdom and Germany more readily identify with their national extensions (.co.uk and .de).

If these new extensions turn out to be a success, how long will it take before we change our habits? The opening of each new extension will require colossal efforts in terms of communication.
You will see your favorite shoe brand have websites such as lunarglide3.nike instead of http://nikerunning.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikeplus/fr_FR/products/lunarglide3?pid=408950 for example...

And it's not hard to imagine adds with something like

...or having an address such as arcdetriomphe.paris

We're not there yet, but this is what we can expect to see in the near future, say, in 2014-2015.


For those who wish to manage an extension like .brand, .country, .continent, .sport, etc. applications will begin on January 12th 2012 and will end on April 12th 2012.


There are a few reasons why a company might like to have their own TLD:

- Marketing, because having your own TLD amounts to owning your own piece of the internet, since it is you that define your own naming policy. It is difficult at this time to measure the impact that these new extensions will have on search engine algorithms, however.
The new extensions nonetheless provide for a very interesting opportunity for companies that are holders of a trademark. By registering a larger number of domain names, searching becomes more intuitive for customers, and can even sidestep using search engines. For example: f-150.ford.
This requires, however, a lot of configuration and forwarding towards the appropriate content. Nonetheless it will help assure that the customer does not land on a page that does not correspond to unofficial content that is not under the control of the company. This is a way to put the URL bar back in the center of navigation, which is all to often ignored by users in favor if the search form on the various search engines.
The existing TLDs and notably the country extensions, will remain precious assets in domain name policies, however they may not have the same role as they do today. They must be maintained for a certain number of years however.

- Legal, because once the TLD will have gained a certain notoriety, the company will have a "space" all to themselves, that they control, and that they will have a stronger legal hold over.
Third party attacks on other TLDs than the official TLD will therefore be less important, even though one should not ignore them altogether.

- in terms of security too, since a unique TLD may offer more security for its users, even if criminals are never short of ideas in terms of phishing.


So, are we really going to witness a big change? What is certain, is that the launch has taken place during the ICANN meeting last June in Singapore. The new extensions will therefore most certainly see the light of day.

It will become essential to assure domain name monitoring, as both the scope of the research and the number of results will be larger. It will be, of course, necessary to increase the budgets ties to domain name portfolios.

We hope that this information has been useful. Feel free to contact our Corporate division if you envision launching your own .brand, as we would be more than happy to help you in the preparation of your application to submit to ICANN, as well as the technical aspects inherent to the role of a registry.

Time is running out: despite the calm summer we're having, it is nonetheless the calm before the most important revolution that our industry has seen since the beginning of the internet.