Earlier this year the company that manages the global internet address system (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN) accepted the first round of applications for new “generic top level domains,” or gTLDs – the part of an address that goes to the right of the dot. Most businesses register domain names that use the familiar “.com” suffix or one of a handful of other available options such as “.org” or “.biz.” The new program makes it possible to register a business name, a trademark – indeed, virtually any word in any language – as a TLD in its own right. Depending on whose crystal ball you consult, this Dot-Brand initiative could revolutionize the way the internet works, or hopelessly complicate it, or both.
The initial application window recently closed. The list of applications offered a few surprises, a number of omens for the future – and some important action items for brand owners who did not apply for a gTLD this time around.
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