New Domain Names Give Businesses More Options
Have you ever searched for a domain name but have found all the good ones are already taken? If you answered yes, then rest assured that you are not alone. With over 265 million domain names already in existence, it has become increasingly difficult to find anything remotely meaningful, let alone something that’s specifically related to your business.
However, all that could change if an ambitious project by a curiously named company starts to catch the imagination of Internet users around the world. Donuts, Inc. (yes, that’s its real name) has entered into an agreement with ICAAN, the body tasked with overseeing domain names, to introduce as many as 68 new top-level domains (or TLDs) over the next three months.
A TLD is essentially the word or letters that come after the dot, i.e. the domain ending. Until this week, there were just 22 generic TLDs in existence – a list dominated by .com. (Other generic TLDs include .net, .info, .org, etc.) As of January 29, those generic TLDs have been joined by 7 others, including .bike, .holdings, .singles, .plumbing, .clothing and .ventures.
Over the next few weeks, many more TLDs will become available, including .camera, .lighting, .contractors, .company and .systems. (You can see a list of future TLDs here.) The Donuts initiative is part of much wider project that could see as many 1,400 new domain extensions come on stream over the next couple of years.
The benefit to small businesses is obvious. While a New York-based family clothing store might have previously had to register thesmithfamilyclothingnyc.com as their online address, they could now pare it down to smithfamily.clothing and have a far more intuitive and meaningful web presence. Although there could still be competitive pressure on securing an appropriate name before the dot, the TLD extension will clearly indicate what the business is all about.
Although Donuts is the driving force behind the new classifications, it is a registry and as such it is not allowed to distribute or register domain names itself. Instead, interested parties will need to seek out one of the many accredited registrars, which include well-known names like GoDaddy, eNom, and 1&1 Internet.
Although the World Wide Web remains a network of dizzying complexity, the new domain names are a worthy effort to bring some order to web addresses that are virtually impossible to catalog or group in any meaningful way. If your business lines up with one of the new TLDs, it makes sense to grab one of the new domain names while you can!