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What are new gTLDs and how to register them to retain your brand identity?


Since the fall of year 2013 we are seeing a spate of new domain extensions being launched. We are now in mid 2014, and already more than 1000 new gTLDs have been or are being launched by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). This is a big transformation in the domain naming system since the advent of the Internet.

Purchasing domain names under these new gTLDs may become important and beneficial for your personal or business website identity. This article will help you understand this entire new game of domain names so that you are equipped to get into it early and secure premium names that may be relevant for you.


What are these new gTLDs?

These new gTLDs, or generic top-level domains, as they are called, are an entirely new set of domain extensions that go beyond the conventional short generic extensions such as.com, .net, .org, .biz, or .info. You would be already familiar with a few such type of extensions such as .mobi, .asia, .name, .xxx, which were launched quite some time back.

With the arrival of the new gTLDs, you now have extensions such as .education, .technology, .directory, .solutions, .realestate, and several others that are all launched anew. Several choice names are now up for grabs. These functionally named extensions will offer you more meaningful domain names to choose from that can provide your brand a better identity.

ICANN accepted applications in early 2012 from several large organizations who were interested to run new domain extensions. These bidding organizations are supposed to act as the back-end Registry for the TLDs/extensions that they are awarded. Nearly 2000 companies applied for various types of new domain extensions, ranging from functionally generic names such as .academy, .accountant, .book, .plumber, etc., to brand specific names such as .TATA, .SBI, .BBC, .BMW. There were also applications for location specific extensions such as .abudhabi, .africa, .amsterdam, etc. These applicant organizations included companies such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Audi, Tata, Reliance, State Bank of India.


Let us look at some of these applicants viz-a-viz the domain extension they have applied for, to get the correct sense of these new gTLDs.

Brand Specific Extensions

TLDsApplicant Companies
AIRTELBharti Airtel Ltd.
ALIBABA, ALIPAYAlibaba Group Holding Ltd.
BBCBritish Broadcasting Corporation
BMWBayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft
DABURDabur India Ltd.
HDFCBANKHDFC Bank Ltd.
SBI, STATEBANKState Bank of India
TATATata Sons Ltd.

Locational Extensions

TLDsApplicant Companies
CITYTLD Registry Limited, Snow Sky LLC, DotCity Inc.
BARCELONAMunicipi de Barcelona
BERLINdotBERLIN GmbH & Co.
BRUSSELSDNS.be vzw
BUDAPESTTop Level Domain Holdings Ltd.
CAPETOWNUniForum SA (NPC) Trading as ZA Central Registry
DUBAIDubai eGovernment Department
LONDONDot London Domains Ltd.
PARISCity of Paris

Functional Extensions

Here is a short list of some of the TLDs that bear a functional name or name of a business type.

ACADEMY, ACCOUNTANT, ACTOR, AGENCY, ARCHITECT, ART, ATTORNEY, AUTO, BANK, BLOG, BOOK, BOUTIQUE, BUILDERS, BUSINESS, CAB, CAFE, CASINO, CATERING, CHURCH, CLINIC, CLOTHING, CLUB, COACH, COLLEGE, COMMUNITY, COMPANY, COMPUTER, CONDOS, CONSTRUCTION, CONSULTING, CONTRACTORS, DANCE, DATING, DEALER, DENTIST, DIRECTORY, DOCTOR, EDUCATION, ENERGY, ENGINEERING, EXPERT, FLORIST, FORUM, FURNITURE, GALLERY, GAMES, GROCERY, GUIDE, GURU, HEALTHCARE, HELP, HOLDINGS, HOSPITAL, HOSTING, HOTEIS, HOTEL, INC, INDUSTRIES, INSTITUTE, INSURANCE, LAWYER, LLC, LTD, MOVIE, MUSIC, MUTUALFUNDS, NETWORK, NEWS, ONLINE, PETS, PHARMACY, PIZZA, PRESS, PRODUCTIONS, PROPERTY, PUB, REALESTATE, REALTY, RECIPES, RENTALS, REPAIR, RESTAURANT, SALON, SCHOOL, SERVICES, SHOES, SHOP, SHOPPING, SOFTWARE, SOLAR, SOLUTIONS, SPA, STORE, TATTOO, TAX, TAXI, TECHNOLOGY, TRADING, TRAINING, TRUST, UNIVERSITY, WEATHER, WEB, WEBSITE, WEDDING, WIKI, WORLD


I have just listed a few extensions in each category. The list is long...

Where there are multiple applicants for the same TLD, ICANN is going for auction to finalize one back-end registry per TLD. After delegation of a new TLD to a registry organization, the TLD is introduced into the Internet’s authoritative database, known as the root zone and thus becomes a part of the Internet. The awarded registry can thereafter decide upon a suitable date of launch and make the TLD available for public at large to register.


Why the new gTLDs are important?

The advantages of buying domains under the new gTLDs are quite obvious. Here are the two main advantages:

  1. Brand Protection - Grabbing some names that are directly relevant to your brand may become essential. For instance, Meru Cabs currently has a website under merucabs.com. What if someone else grabs the new domain name meru.cab? It may create confusion amongst potential customers of Meru Cabs and may drive some customers away to the new website under meru.cab.
  2. SEO Advantage - Concise descriptive names have the power to make a company stand out in searches. It may even help boost its position in organic search results, and establish a reputation as a reliable source of information and a leader in the given category. You may not be aware that Google already allows users to conduct searches by domain extension in its advanced search feature. Users have the facility to run a filter to list only .com results or .org results if they so choose. It would not be surprising if someone looking to hire a cab service, applies a .cab filter. Try a search in Google for "cab service" and apply the advanced filter to search only ".cab" extension - you will understand what I mean.

How can I buy domains under the new gTLDs?

If you intend to buy these new gTLDs, you need to understand the various stages at which you can grab your choice TLDs to protect your brand.

Here is how it works. When ICANN approves and awards a new domain extension to an applicant organization, it authorizes the organization to become the parent registry for management and sale of domain names under that domain extension. The parent registry then sub-contracts the sale of domain names to a small list of accredited registrars. The accredited registrars would now either sell the domain names directly to public or may sell them through their resellers.

As a buyer you would normally buy your choice domain names from the resellers. Buying directly from the accredited registrars may often prove to be more expensive than buying from the resellers/retailers.

The resellers would make the domain names available for public in the following four phases:


THE STAGES OF LAUNCH OF A NEW DOMAIN EXTENSION

Phase 1 - Sunrise Registration

The Sunrise registration phase is essentially meant for trademark holders. Trademark holders are given the first chance to register their trademarks under the new domain extensions. For instance a name like icici.bank will be first offered to ICICI Bank. If ICICI Bank does not buy this domain name during the sunrise phase, then it is made available to others in subsequent phases.

How does it work?

ICANN has set up a Trade Mark Clearing House (TMCH) to help protect brands during the gTLD sunrise period. TMCH maintains a common database of authenticated registered trademarks so as to prevent anyone trying to register a trademarked domain name during the sunrise phase.

A trademark holder, who could be a private person or a company, can submit their trademark to the Clearinghouse which gets recorded in the TMCH centralized repository. After verification, the trademark holder will be able to register their trademarked domain names during the sunrise period. Trademark holders will also have the option to be notified when someone attempts to register a domain name that matches their record in the TMCH. The TMCH will accept, authenticate, and verify any registered trademarks, marks protected by statute, treaty, or court validated marks as well as any other marks that constitute Intellectual Property rights.


Phase 2 - Landrush Registration

The landrush registration phase is a priority registration period. During this period domain names are sold at a premium price or via an auction process. Most of the premium names get sold at very high price during the landrush period. For instance, names like london.city or boston.property may attract several bidders and may get sold at exceedingly high price.


Phase 3 - Pre-registration

This is the period just before the domain names are released for anyone to buy. During this period you can pre-order your domain names so that you have a chance to be the first to attempt registration on the day the domains are released for general availability. All pre-ordered domains will be automatically submitted by respective domain resellers to the parent registry on the first day of general availability. So, essentially, several resellers may be competing for the same name on the first day of general availability. And, whoever succeeds in making their submission first gets the domain name. Thus, pre-registration does not guarantee that you will get the domain name. Needless to mention, that the price of domain during pre-registration period is higher.


Phase 4 - General Availability

This is the date from which anyone can buy the available domain names at a normal price.


It may be noted that not many domain resellers/service providers are selling these new gTLDs. They have yet to adopt to the new paradigm. If you wish to buy domains under the new gTLDs, check the following website - WebServicesWorldwide.com. WebServicesWorldwide provides new gTLDs under all of the above four registration phases.




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About the Author

Rajeev Kumar
CEO, Computer Solutions
Jamshedpur, India

Rajeev Kumar is the primary author of How2Lab. He is a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur with several years of experience in IT education and Software development. He has taught a wide spectrum of people including fresh young talents, students of XLRI, industry professionals, and govt. officials.

Rajeev has founded Computer Solutions & WebServicesWorldwide.com, and has hands-on experience of building variety of web applications and portals, that include - SAAS based ERP & e-commerce systems, independent B2B, B2C, Matrimonial & Job portals, and many more.



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