The BBC announced yesterday that applications will soon open for new top-level domains in the biggest change to the system in over two decades.
From today it will be possible to register almost any word as a web address suffix. Familiar endings like .com and .org could potentially be joined by the likes of .pepsi, .virgin or .itv.
There are arguments for and against this introduction of custom domain suffix.
Peter Dengate Thrush, a former chairman of Icann’s board of directors, stated
“No-one would design a domain name system now for several billion users just using a couple of names that we started the system with in 1985.”
And what he says is probably true, domain names are beginning to get longer due to the amount of companies now having websites and struggling to buy domain names that are simply their company name. Over the past few years there has been an increase in the amount of people buying domains that do not end in .co.uk or .com but .net .me etc. The introduction of an infinite choice of these suffixes would help with this problem.
One of the biggest problems of today however is that new companies can often not have a domain with their own company name due to it already being taken. This often means long and unmemorable domain names. Will this new system make it even harder to remember web addresses? Probably however many of us do not even type a web address in these days with the majority of traffic going through search engines.
Another issue is that it is becoming ever more common for companies to buy hundreds of domain names simply so that no body else can have them. This is one of the worries with this new system, as suggested in the bbc article “it opens up a whole new second tier of real estate that could be cyber squatted. There’s very little that could be done to eradicate malicious squatters and others seeking to exploit the system.”
For example I could register ‘Banking.hsbc and pretend i’m hsbc. Obviously this would end in a legal battle but it certainly opens up a whole new can of worms when it comes to the rights to own a domain.
For many smaller companies these new applications should not be of any concern due to the huge price tag that is attached to them. It is of course something that we should all be watching closely to see whether more main stream domain companies such as 123.reg start to sell these types of domain making them more accessible to normal companies.
Please leave your comments below we would love to know what you think about this.