What are TLDs? I am sure that almost everybody knows them but not everybody is aware of it. Each domain is made up of labels separated by dots. The right-most label in a domain is what we are looking for, such as .com, .edu. The first seven were created back in 1980s – .com, .edu, .gov, .arpa, .mil, .net, and .org , but were later followed by more to sum up into 22 available TLDs nowadays. As we all know, today the most important in significance and usage is .com, but it was not an easy path for it to walk.
Years ago, in 1985, when the .com decided timidly to step on the stage, surprisingly (for us today) it did not receive a lot of applauds. The first .com domain to be registered was Symbolics.com, on 15th of March 1985 and during the whole year only six companies decided to go for this initiative. The year that followed brought only about 50 more domains… Yes, the times were not very good for the newly rising .com. If only someone knew back then that years later, in 2009, the Insure.com would be sold for $16 million. In total if we sum up the top 10 most expensive domains the number is almost $90 millions. It all started with the first big sale which was made in 1999 when business.com was sold for the amazing at that time $7.5 millions. And in general the 90s were the period when the reign of .com began and nobody dared to oppose this. Number of .com domains reached around 20 million in 2000. People started to use it more than any other TLDs available on the market. Everybody seemed to forget the not promising beginning and the .com did not complain, nor did the domain registrars.
Nowadays the number of the existing .com domains is very difficult to be determined but the statistics show numbers around 100M already registered domains! A pretty amazing number taking into account that this is almost half of the domains registered. This gives the .com the first place in the ranking of all TLDs.
And it has stayed on its position for years, happily resting on the idea that no other TLD would ever succeed to take his throne. Until recently when ICANN has started to prepare the new initiative of allowing new TLDs, such that will allow any extension as long as it is eligible according to the rules of ICANN. The rule, that sifted our most of the companies that wanted to apply for these new extensions, was very simple – if you want to apply, the fee is $185,000. An amount not a lot of companies could provide, but an amount requested from ICANN to cover not only the fees, but to prove that these companies could handle being a registrar of the domain they want. 1930 new TLDs are approved at the moment and the first are expected to be launched in the first half of 2013.
Why this could succeed and how you can take advantage of it? For those of you who are thinking of registering a domain .com with acronyms, forget about it, since there are no domains available with 2 and 3 letters (the first one to be reserved was hp.com in 1986). If you want a cute original name, also chances are that someone has already thought about this. Of course, with the limitation of the characters allowed being 63 (without the suffix or the extension counted) you still have a chance to find a domain, but would it be the one that you wanted to have?
Now, in case you want to start your business and you want this perfect original name, which alas has been already taken in the kingdom where .com reigns, you still have a chance. This may happen with the new extensions, of course if you register it soon enough. Some of the new TLDs that will be available according to the link posted from ICANN include – .blog, .book, .apple, .toys, .google and many more. If you own a restaurant, you can go for the .restaurant, you have something to do with the TV industry – .movie might be the one for you, you can choose from any of the 1930 new extensions which have been approved for the next stage. Though I do not think a single gTLD might overtake the crown of .com, the power sometimes lays in the unite and here the more relevant question is: Can all these domains taken together steal the glory and the glamour from the .com?
The answer is still to be seen but even talking about this possibility is enough to make this new procedure a legendary one. And let’s not forget that if 27 years ago someone has asked a question whether or not .com will become popular, the skeptics probably would have been more than the ones who would have believed in the chances of .com to survive.