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What’s a gTLD, and Why do I Care?

What’s a gTLD, and Why do I Care?

I’m happy to relaunch my Timely New Technology blog posts, designed to call your attention to technology trends that could affect (and help!) your business. It’s been entirely too long, as we went through a series of business changes and finally redesigned our website. A company that prides itself on modern technology shouldn’t be advertising its services on a dated website — don’t you agree? It’s now a much better showcase for our capabilities, so I hope you’ll check out our redesign at https://capalon.com .

TNT: When domain names were first introduced, the number of top-level domains (TLDs) was very limited: .com, .org, .net, .mil, .gov, .arpa, one per country (did you know bit.ly is registered with Libya Telecom?), and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few. Between 2001 and 2002, .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro were added.

So, as you’ve already determined, the TLD is the last part of any domain name, including the last ‘.’ — the TLD for capalon.com is, of course, ‘.com’. And with a limit on the number and variety of TLDs, people had to be more and more creative in order to find a domain name that they liked. Not only did the length of domain names rapidly increase (e.g. from ‘amazon.com’ to ‘barnesandnoble.com’, to the current limit of 63 (!) characters) but the governments of Colombia (.co) and Turkmenistan (.tm), among others, quickly realized they had a business opportunity on their hands.

Until now, everything else has been considered a distant second to .com and .org. mybiz.biz is obviously the Johnny-come-lately who couldn’t get mybiz.com.

Now, however, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has decided to massively expand the pool of top-level domains. Besides .business, you’ll be able to get .car, .career, .catering, .clothing, and .casino. There will be .doctor, .dentist, .dental, .dds, .cpa, .law and .lawyer. You’ll be able to register a domain in a city: .berlin, .capetown, .madrid, .helsinki, .boston, .london and .nyc, for example, and international TLDs will feature non-Latin character sets (such as Arabic, Cyrillic, and Chinese characters). Religious organizations will have choices such as .catholic, .islam, .bible and .kosher. There will even be brand TLDs, such as .google, .bloomingdales, .goodyear and .chrysler.

It remains to be seen what the impact of this will be. Will there still be a dramatic preference for .com domains, or will there be a certain attraction to being one of the few companies with a .design name? It certainly opens the door to many interesting possibilities.

WHAT TO DO: Honestly, if you have a satisfying .com domain name, you’re probably all set. We have no plans to register capalon.inc, .computer or .technology, any more than we worry about capalon.biz, .co or .info. Could bandn.book help Barnes and Noble shorten their name? Probably not, because they already obtained books.com! But if you would like a domain name with a TLD particular to your business, or a shorter, easier-to-remember domain name, you now have hundreds of choices — over 250 and counting.

There’s a convenient list published online at http://www.newtldlist.com/ (probably a volunteer effort, so data may change). If you find a new TLD that you’d like to use, please contact our office — we can tell you whether you can register a domain with that TLD, and if not, when you might be able to pre-register with or without a trademark protecting your name. We’ll be happy to help!

Wishing you a profitable week,

Ken

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