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Articles & Updates – Details

14 April 2011

New gTLD Domain Name Programme Set to Launch Later This Year

New gTLD Domain Name Programme Set to Launch Later This Year

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has agreed a timeline for the release of a new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) programme that would mean a dramatic shake-up to the current system. A board meeting is due to be held on 20 June 2011 in Singapore and, assuming the plans are approved, the final version of a guidebook will be issued and the application window will open later this year in October, following a four month awareness campaign.

Currently, the domain name system is limited to 21 gTLDs such as .com, .org or .net. Under the new proposals, it would be possible for an established public or private company to apply to operate a gTLD that corresponds to almost anything, such as their company name or brand. Effectively instead of purchasing 'brand123.com', for example, it would be possible to purchase the domain '.brand123', albeit with a high price tag of $185,000 US Dollars (approximately £113,000).

The Board recently paved the way for .xxx domain names (which was a controversial decision) and, although the gTLD proposals have caused widespread controversy, it is thought that they will go ahead. The controversy centres on the fact that brand owners will need to ensure that they are vigilant and aware of the potential for infringement of their registered or unregistered trade marks. It is recommended that brand owners ensure that their portfolio of trade marks is up to date and accurately reflects their current activities.

The latest version of the guidebook and an informative fact sheet is available here.

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