New Domain Name Rules

06/08/2011

Oscar Robles

By Oscar Robles *

In June, the ICANN Board of Directors approved a plan for allowing an increase in the number of Internet address endings, called generic top-level domains.

This does not mean that anyone will be able to define an ending of their choice and turn Internet navigation into chaos. This is completely incorrect, as to avoid this and other potential problems a set of rules have been defined that seek to structure this decision.

Technological, financial and commercial requirements have been established. Likewise, ICANN has conducted several studies – mostly technological and economic impact studies – of this measure and they have all shown positive conclusions.

Financial requirements include a US$ $185,000 evaluation fee for each proposal to guarantee that the proposals that are received are financially serious. Related to this, provisions have been made to support proposals in developing countries and the fact that support mechanisms will be implemented for developing countries has also been mentioned.

Technological requirements specify that the operator in charge of each new ending must have proven experience in this activity and defines new quality of service levels that new operators must meet.

Based on the above, it is expected that at the end of next year a few hundred new top level domains will be introduced, among them some of a corporate nature (.facebook, .google, .canon, .deloitte, .apple), some territorial (.africa, .lat for the Latin community, .berlin, .nyc, .paris), and some generic domains for specific purposes (.music, .sports, .radio, .hotels, .autos).

LACTLD is keeping a close eye on this development as, although it does not necessarily imply the presence of new ccTLDs within the region, at the end of the day new players will probably appear.

What is indeed a fact is that the incorporation of new domains does not mean that current top level domains will disappear: regional ccTLDs such as .ar, .br, .cl, etc. will continue to function because there are more than 6 million domain names registered under those top level domains combined.

Thus, it is anticipated that Internet users will have an important number of options when registering their domain names not only under different top level domains but also with different operators, a positive aspect from the users’ point of view and a perspective we at LACTLD share.

However, ICANN has had to pay attention to some of the more sensitive issues that could arise in relation to these new domains, such as, for instance, the abusive registration of trademarks by organizations that are not their legal owners, so mechanisms have been defined that seek to minimize these issues.

ICANN will open a three-month period for accepting applications in January 2012 but, regardless of which suffixes are accepted by ICANN, this decision is one of the most important in ICANN’s history.

ICANN’s announcement: http://goo.gl/z4Sln

*Oscar Robles is the General Director of NIC.Mx and President of LACTLD.

About LACTLD. The Latin American and Caribbean TLD Association (LACTLD) is an organization created almost 13 years ago with the mission of representing the interests of the region’s top level domain administrators, to promote Latin American and Caribbean integration, and to serve as a focal point for cooperation and exchanging experiences and information among the region’s TLDs.

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