Technical jargon aside, in the domain www.bluecorona.com, .com is the top-level domain (note: top-level domains are NOT case-sensitive). Created in 1998, The Internet Corporation for Assign Names and Numbers or ICANN, a nonprofit private organization in California, oversees a number of Internet-related tasks. One of these “tasks” is the management of top-level domains or TLDs. Recently, due to the growth of the web, there has been a big push to create new brand-centric TLDs such as .google or .bluecorona. This proposed change could have a MAJOR impact on how businesses market and represent themselves online.
Historically, TLDs have been organized into several groups – Countries, Categories, and Multiorganizations. Some people don’t realize it, but TLDs actually have meaning behind them. For example, .com is for commercial (“for profit”) entities. In order to get a .museums domain, you must be verified as a legitamate meseum (who knew!?). In June 2011, ICANN voted to allow the creation of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) so you can register things like .yourcompanyname. Before you get too excited, it’s worth noting that it’s going to cost you $185,000 to apply for a generic TLD! That’s right, $185,000!
The impact gTLDs will have on online marketing and SEO is still unclear. Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land was quoted telling people to Google something travel related and count the number of domains you see with the already in existence .travel TLD. He joked, “You won’t need more than one hand. You probably won’t need more than one finger. You probably won’t need any fingers at all!” One thing is certain – this change is going to cause big brands a major headache as they flury to register their existing trademarks and products (and at $185,000 per TLD, protecting your assets online could get pricey!).