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ICANN Now Accepting New gTLD Applications

In a historic move, ICANN opened the doors to new gTLDs today. After more than seven years of planning, companies can officially submit their applications today for their own custom domain name gTLD (general top level domain). This move opens the world of TLDs to brands, services, organizations, and even locations. From .brand to .vegas, ICANN estimated that they could add between 300 – 1,000 new gTLDS per year, though this opening round will be limited to 500 applications.

To register, companies must complete the TLD Application System (TAS) [1] on ICANN”s website and submit it along with a $5,000 fee, with the additional $180,000 due with the full application. This fee covers the initial application process and ICANN stated that additional fees may be required during the course of the review process. This initial fee does not cover any infrastructure fees that may occur with a new gTLD.

Companies have until March 29, 2012 to submit their application using their TLD Application System (TAS) and until April 12 to submit a full application. While there will be future application periods, it’s speculated that further applications will not be accepted for another two to three years after the April deadline.

Once an application is submitted, ICANN estimates between 9-20 months for the review process depending on the specifics of the application, gTLD usage, etc. While they’ve publicly stated they expected the first of the new gTLDs to launch this year, it’s likely that we won’t see any until 2013.

While there is a lot of excitement surrounding the new gTLDs, there is also a lot of skepticism with many citing industry benefits and voicing concerns.

Potential Benefits of the New gTLDS

According to ICANN, the new gTLDS create an environment for innovation, opportunity, job creation, and economic growth. Other benefits that have been cited include:

Potential Concerns of the New gTLDs

Despite these potential benefits, many are voicing serious concerns, such as:

The new gTLDs most likely won’t have any effect on you in the foreseeable future, though no one can say for sure. Twenty years ago, it wasn’t common to have a domain name, but now they’re an integral part of everyday life. It remains to be seen what impact these new gTLDS will have on the Internet over the next 20 years.

Will the new gTLDs actually launch? What, if any, impact do you think these new gTLDs will have on the average user? On the Internet as a whole? Are there any extensions that you think could be useful?

We’re interested in hearing your thoughts on this historic launch!