The Generic Domains
The new domains are coming.
Something like 650 new generic top level domains (gTLDs) have been applied for in this round. There is a wide variety of categories, from broad to narrow, meaning the choice for new entrants to build new websites is vast. It is truly unprecedented.
Extensions like .web are all-encompassing and seem certain to encompass a wide range of individual, corporate, media and entertainment sites. Others, like .corp and .app are more specifically targeted, while others still like .baby and .flowers represent niche markets.
One thing is clear. Just about all the major descriptive and commercially useful words in the English language have been applied for, so it's critically important that the process is successful. The words most relevant to the world's most important industries, media and entertainment are under application.
Words like "insurance", "book", "news", "movies", "shop", "game", "media", "cloud", "health" and "corp" have all been applied for.
These are platinum standard words in commercial terms. Any of these words as a dot com such as Health.com would be worth north of a million dollars.
The big question is can the value of these premium words make the jump to the right side of the dot?
How successful can websites like Mens.health become?
Unlike the brand and city TLDs, the generics are subject to a great deal of controversy. Just by glancing at the list, you can see that there will be issues of responsibility and governance related to words like "baby", "mortgage" and "doctor" when you consider the risks of scammers and fraudsters exploiting those domains. Not to mention other issues related to controversial applications like "sucks". A basic introduction to some of the controversial aspects of the new gTLD program is presented on the Controversy page.
Another major issue that is gaining traction is that of the proposed era of closed gTLDs many of the applications for common dictionary words like "store" and "beauty" are for closed registries. This means that all the domains under those extensions will be owned by just one single corporation, with none available for registration to the general public.
Just one company will theoretically be permitted to own every single .shop domain in the world for example. These websites could number in the hundreds of thousands, with all competitors shut out from the space. This controversy is generating a great deal of condemnation from around the world. It would enable the development of global monopolies in many large industries, and it would signal the end of the universally free and fair internet.
This worrying and anti-competitive scenario is analysed in great detail in our sister site SuperMonopolies.
To use just a tiny, tiny selection of samples based on the limited list of strings in the column at left, here are some domains that may have a destiny on the web:
This truly is a genuine domain name explosion. The current list of only about 20 generic domain strings looks likely to expand by more than 600.
While the .com string has come to dominate the domain space as it has evolved over a few decades, some believe that the sheer volume of new gTLDs will create such public interest that many will succeed in achieving their goals. Previously, "lesser" TLDs like .museum and .tel lacked publicity and awareness to develop traction in the internet marketplace, but this principle may no longer hold under the new paradigm. The sheer volume and publicity that will accompany the new domain strings should be like the tide that lifts all boats, creating a synergy of growth.
And leading this revolution in the naming space is sure to be the dot brands, with countless millions of dollars waiting to spent by the world's most successful and wealthy corporations.
How can this be a fact? Simple. In their applications, many companies have openly discussed their launch plans. Examples are presented on the Brand Domains page.
The dot brands are going to use their unsurpassed market power to forge public acceptance of the new TLDs.
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