How's .awesome for a domain name suffix? By the end of next year, that and countless other options will become available to companies and organizations with legitimate claims to specific domain names, thanks to a new decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
"The Internet body that oversees domain names voted on Monday to end restricting them to suffixes like .com or .gov and will receive applications for new names from January 12 next year with the first approvals likely by the end of 2012," Reuters reports.
"Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age," said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN's board of directors, according to CNN. "We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration."
"Experts say corporations should be among the first to register, resulting in domain names ending in brands like .toyota, .apple or .coke.," Reuters adds. "The move is seen as a big opportunity for brands to gain more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites -- and a danger for those who fail to take advantage."
"But just like real estate in the real world, this new virtual land won't come cheap. The price tag to get a new domain created is $185,000," writes Los Angeles Times. "Only ‘established public or private organizations' can apply, and all applications must prove they have the technical capability necessary to keep a domain running."
"Thus, the blessing and the curse that are new GLTDs: companies get new opportunities to reinforce their brand names, but at the same time it means trademark holders could face expensive new challenges in defending their trademarks," writes CNet. Indeed, "The expansion in domain names may prompt large companies to acquire more Web addresses to keep their brands from being hijacked by others, costing $746 million, or $500,000 per individual company," reports Bloomberg Businessweek, citing estimates from earlier this year by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse.
At the end of the day, the companies that will benefit most are "big brands with a clear marketing and customer education strategy to exploit the name for competitive advantage," Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, a California-based company that provides online branding services, tells Agence France Presse.