January 24, 2014
Around 1,000 new domain names are about to be added to the Internet, and as a result, on February 4th, anyone will be able to scoop up new Web addresses using these domains. The common standard domain names are the .com, .org and .net suffixes. But the number of generic top-level domain names (or gTLDs) will soon expand to include names like .coffee, .soy, .dot and .lol, among many others. This major shift could resemble the online real estate market of the dot-com boom era.
According to Quartz, many people argue that the “deluge” of new domains will benefit people and small businesses in particular “by giving them more addresses to choose from.” Critics, they say, call it a “massive land grab” by entrepreneurs and powerful Internet companies.
And many companies — including Google, Amazon and Walmart — have indeed ponied up the $185,000 application fee to run a new domain. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees domain names, received more than 1,900 applications for unique domains.
Quartz notes that until last year, there were only 22 functioning gTLDs, and only a select few were widely used. “So why create a whole new bunch of gTLDs if .jobs, .travel and the like got so little traction?” the article asks. “The argument is that the Internet — or .com at least — is running out of space.” Web addresses are becoming longer, more complicated and, in some cases, weird.
Though few people are likely to have even heard about the impending new wave of gTLDs, Quartz says it will affect everybody who uses the Web. Less certain, it says, “is whether it is strictly necessary.” But for those companies that stand to make a profit selling second-level domain names could see “enormous” revenue.