ICANN Approves Brand Name Suffixes

In what has been hailed as the most significant decision since the creation of the “.com” suffix, more than 25 years ago, ICANN, (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) the global body that regulates domain naming conventions among other things, has voted in favour of the implementation of new top level domains.

At present, there are only 22 recognised top level domains, (TLD’s), including .com, .net and .org. During a special meeting of the board in Singapore today, they voted to allow groups to create new TLD’s in any language or script, out of of almost any word.

This, they announced, would give organisations, companies and groups the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways.

Company Domains & More

According to Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO of ICANN, “ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind.”

Commentators suggest that global brands like Apple, Toyota and BMW, could be among the first to launch websites that use the company name as their own top level domain.

Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, said that the companies most likely to benefit from this will be “big brands with a clear marketing and customer education strategy to exploit the name for competitive advantage.”

Fears Of Confusion

Despite fears that the new domain names may cause confusion among consumers, Icann board member Sebastien Bachollet said “I trust we have the tools to ensure the phase of stress will be brief.”

Prepare For Creative Marketing

ICANN announced on their website today that they would soon be launching a world-wide campaign to raise awareness of the new top level domains.

Applications for new top level domains will be accepted from 12 January to the 12 April 2012, but businesses are informed that the application is considerably more involved than registering a .com or any other type of existing domain name.

As a result, businesses are advised to apply in good time if they wish to take advantage of this opportunity.

Check back for more updates as further information becomes available.