There are currently 22 top level generic web suffixes such as “.com” and “.net” in existence. Soon there may be many many more than that. Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has already approved over 1,500 applications for new domain names and has announced that some may be in working condition in a mere matter of months. So, the question is: Is this good news or bad? Of course, there are two sides to any argument and this topic has gotten quite a few people talking. Some people are opposed to this expansion of domain names while others are cheering the switch.
Let’s Look at Two Potential Pros:
Variety, Options and More Space- Domain names on the web act as a sort of cyber real estate. Currently, companies looking to create a great name/space for themselves online are rather limited in their options because many names have already been used and can’t be copied. Expanding the number of web suffixes allows more companies to create space names that they like and think will be successful. For example, perhaps you own a bakery called “Gourmet Cupcake” and you want to create a website. The probelm is “GourmetCupcake.com” is already being used by another company somewhere else in the world. With so many new options you could probably quickly choose from other site names such as: “GourmetCupcake.bakery” or “GourmetCupcake.food” just to name a couple of possibilities….
Create Competition- In the world of website suffix owners, there are only a handful of big players. A company called Verisign manages the suffixes .net and .com and raked in $874 million just last year. This isn’t surprising considering nearly half of the 252 million domain spaces on the web last year used one of these two suffixes. Allowing more players to get involved with managing domain spaces may encourage some healthy competition in this arena.
Now, for a Few Potential Cons:
Can You Say Confusion?- Perhaps all these new space names would provide a bit more variety and potentially some fun and creative moments for surfers and site owners alike… but, when you really start thinking about it, problems with this plan aren’t hard to spot. Website names can be confusing as it is and simply trying to remember whether it was .org or .com can sometimes cause headaches. Imagine trying to navigate through thousands of options. Getting to a page you weren’t looking for in the first place would probably become a frequent occurrence. Was it GourmetCupcake.bakery or GourmetBakery.cupcake?
Curbing Competition- Depending who gets a hold of these space names first and how those companies choose to allow other companies to use them, the whole “healthy competition” pro could turn sour. With the new plan in place, not all domain names would be open for use; some could be closed or restricted, causing certain companies to gain a foot up in their markets or provide themselves with seemingly greater credibility.
Just Another Expense- This expansion may cause companies to feel the need (which may prove to be legitimate) to register several new brand sites as a way to defend against fraudsters, spoofers and cybersquatters. This action would be costly and depending how thoroughly it is done, may not even provide the desired protection the company was hoping for. This would also negate the very reason for establishing new domain spaces in the first place since those new URLs would simply be bought up by companies wanting to protect their brand and not by new businesses looking to “buy property” on the web for a new site.
These are just a few of the issues being discussed about this topic. Only time will tell how the web takes to all these changes being made to its basic structure and we’ll all just have to wait and see how we like its new look.
For now, we’re keeping ourselves busy thinking up some of the goofiest web URLs we can think of: