500+ New gTLDs Introduced

ICANN has announced the 500th new gTLD.

The gTLD .NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) was the 500th new gTLD to be delegated, with new domains rolling out at an average of one per day.

The New gTLD Program is the Internet’s largest expansion ever, introducing hundreds of new top-level domain names or “strings” which could become available in the next few years. With the first four strings delegated on 23 October 2014, the Program continues to make advancements and enable enhanced competition, innovation and choice.

A few days ago, ICANN updated delegates at the Singapore ICANN meeting, and the video and transcript is available online:

http://singapore52.icann.org/en/schedule/mon-new-gtld

The 2012 round of the New gTLD Program is well underway and the next application round is on the horizon

New Domains .Africa

The countdown for a huge tranche of new top level domain names is well underway* and the list of applied for domains will shortly be made public. One applicant is making their option known now at GlobalINET which is taking place this week in Geneva.

The .Africa top level domain application is a African Union sanctioned bid to establish a regional internet identity of Africa. Mohamed El Bashir, Chair of the dotAfrica steering committee describes the reason for the domain:

“Africa’s new top-level domain (dotAfrica) will be utilised as a mechanism to promote the development of Africa’s Internet services and ecosystem, and to showcase African pride, identity and know-how.”

The registry will be run by non-profit .za (South Africa) operator, UniForumSA, and they hope the new domain will stimulate the whole African domain name market. Pricing and availability (including any restrictions) will be announced closer to launch.

*The countdown hit a bump in the road in April due to a security issue with the online platform ICANN uses for the process.

New top level domains

ICANN is introducing a range of new top level domains (think .com, .net, .org) which will be open to anyone who cares to think of one. So far suggestions have varied from geo-domains like .paris, .london and .nyc, to topics like .eco, .food and .music.

whoWhen these new domains come along, will they be useful? The argument often given is that you replace the three meaningless characters to the right of the dot, namely com or net,  with characters that actually provide guidance to the user about what will be found at the web site using that TLD (think .music, .london).

The gTLD process is bogged down at the moment, but ICANN have announced that country code domains (like .cn, .ru) will be translated into their own native character sets. This has been on the cards for a long time and its great to see it should soon be a reality.