On Monday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (often referred to as ‘ICANN’ for obvious reasons) announced that organizations will, starting in the near future, be able to purchase and register domains with custom suffixes. For those of you who aren’t studied up on the art of the domain, a domain suffix is the part of a domain after the dot. For example, the suffix of ByteRevel.com is “.com”. Prior to this announcement, there were about 22 generic top-level domain suffixes plus 250 country-level domain suffixes available for people to purchase a domain under. These domain suffixes ranged from 2 characters to 6 characters. With the new custom suffixe, they can be anywhere from 1 to 60 characters.
In order to purchase a custom domain suffix, one must shell out $185,000 up front and then $25,000 every year thereafter. In addition, ICANN hopes to prevent cybersquatting by requiring applicants to have a highly legitimate reason as to why they should own the suffix. To put this into perspective, current .com domains typically go for around $10 a year (with no up front cost) and anyone can register a domain for any reason. Clearly, these custom domain suffixes won’t really be available to the average internet publisher.
Many major businesses are sure to jump at the chance to buy up all domain suffixes that relate to their brand. For some, there is sure to be little argument or confusion. For example, Starbucks might want the domain suffix “.starbucks”. Other companies, such as Apple or Microsoft, are no doubt headed for an all-out war for suffixes such as “.computer”.
What are your thoughts on ICANN’s announcement on custom domain suffixes? Comment!