ICANN’s new top level domains – Everything you may need to know

ICANN's new top level domainsIt’s been several years now since ICANN (Intenet Corporation for assigned names and numbers) allowed processing of top level domains creation organizations and brands.

Before that, there were just 22 TLDs which included .net, .org, .com and others on the entire web. Additionally, just a few country code top-level domains existed. In fact, for all those years, most individuals from those countries used the domain names as a way to make the URLs of their brands more striking.

If more TLDs were created as promised, it would provide fresh domain opportunities as well as extensions leading to a wider variety of services, brands, and organizations.

The TLD process has been explained in a 352-page book which is too complicated to understand by average readers. For this reason, we’ve summed up the whole process by answering the top most commonly asked questions on the topic.

1. What is the approximate number of new TLDs to be issued?

Under the program, ICANN indicates that there will be between 300 and 1000 brand new TLDs to be created yearly. ICANN however, may not be able to process all those applications as those applications could take years to process. Therefore, ICANN is expected to process only 500 applications in the first batch with the rest released in batches of a maximum 400 applications.

2. When should the application take place?

For new TLD’s, the applications will be completed for the period between January 12 and April 12. This will, however, be done for the first batch. The subsequent batch applications will be done in future.

3. What will be the cost for registration?

Prospective applicants will be required to pay a fee of $185,000. As indicated in the gTLD applicant guidebook, the applicants will be required to pay a deposit fee of $5000. During this period, the user asks for an application slot before submitting the remaining fee of $180000 with the full application.

This marks the beginning of the vital process of evaluation. It is also worth noting that an additional payment may be required during the review process of application. The additional fee, however, is not part of infrastructure fees that may come from the gTLD.

4. What duration does the evaluation process take?

This depends on the application, the intended usage among other issues. The evaluation process may be nine months or 20 months depending on the factors cited above. In 2013, the new gTLDs started appearing in the initial year before the end users experience the new domain actions at work according to ICANN.

5. What is the implication of applying two entities for the same gTLD?

Here, the timeline is considered. In that, if one user completes the application process before the other one has applied, the TLD will be just be delegated on the first; come first, serve rule.

If no applicant has completed the application process, ICANN employs a more complex process of resolving the issue. There will be four key categories in which the applicants will be awarded points. The applicant who gets the highest number of points wins the domain. If by any case, the two applicants tie, an auction is held with the highest bidder among the two winning the domain.

For community-based applications, however, there is a priority evaluation in the TLD process.

ICANN will offer notifications to all applicants who will take part in the contention that has been set. Applicants can join hands to try and attain their resolution together.

6. What about the trademarks?

I reckon that this is perhaps the trickiest situation for ICANN during mitigation. As much as it will not be a requirement for users to own a trademark when applying for a new TLD, the review process will consider any trademark from the entire world that is in the account when checking the application.

Additionally, users are not allowed to reserve a TLD of a name that has been trademarked. Instead, they’ll be required to follow the entire process just like the new applicants. Apart from looking for trademarked names, ICANN will also check form similar domain names that may be confusing.

Besides, Owners of trademarked names as well as other parties are required to file a petition during the evaluation process.

7. What is the cost of filling an objection?

The 352-page applicant guidebook exists as a draft with no final figures. However, one has to pay heavily, possibly in terms of thousands of dollars, when filling an objection. This does not include court costs and other additional mediation charges.
So, what makes it so expensive to file an objection? ICANN is performing due diligence to try and settle the immense visibility of a TLD prior to granting it to a particular organization.

On top of that, grabbing of TLDs by many domain squatters is high, which makes ICANN to charge high to prevent it.

8. Do you have to let your competitors use your TLD upon acquiring it?

Do you know that you become a registrar on acquiring a new TLD? Yes. That implies that if anyone can pay the registration fee to acquire a new TLD, then they can do it. Alternatively, if the owner wants to stop people from gaining access to the TLD, they may limit the use of their domain to certain entities.

9. Will this affect my life in any way as a web user or brand?

Not at this time. It is, however, worth noting that the current TLD structures took years to be affordable and viable for individuals as well as non-fortune companies.

Approximately 25 years ago, just a few individuals and small businesses owned domains. Surprisingly, it’s a different case today; a lot of people have them. It took a very long time for the TLDs to open up like it is now.

It was not uncommon to find a domain costing about $50 about two decades ago. 4 or 5 years before that, people had to pay multi- thousand dollars for the same. Currently, it goes for roughly $8 for TLDs .com or .net and that counts for private registration too.

It will take longer for the process of gTLD to be simplified. However, we should expect the community driven TLDs for things such as sports, films, and even music to be available in the near future.

Admittedly, only large corporations and governments can afford customized TLDs such as Facebook and Google but we should expect the process to be worked out just like in the case for .com and .net domain extensions.

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