Just over a year ago I joined ANPI as their CMO and one of the first things I noted was our domain name, “anpisolutions.com”. Why? A squatter had the domain and was waiting for a payday. We were fortunate that the squatter had seen little interest in “anpi.com” and was quite willing to negotiate for a sum much less than the initial offer. However, other companies have not been as fortunate and the good domain names are becoming harder and harder to acquire. In an effort to correct the problem, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has accepted applications for and approved 1,574 requests to develop and manage generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). Samples of gTLDs include .home, .love, .app, .cloud, .game and over a thousand others.
The change in how domains are created and managed will open up room for new companies to gain domains names that reflect their business and their company names. This is very different from the ever more restrictive .com and .net domain used by most businesses. Although, as a nod to Verisign, who provides the routing support for more than 121 million domain names and up to 77 billion DNS queries a day, they have done a wonderful job given the environment and demand.
In order to expand the number of companies that could oversee the new domains names, ICANN screen applications to qualify the potential competitors to Verisign and also imposed an $185,000 fee per domain application. Not surprising was the acceptance of applications from companies like Google, Amazon having an interest in .search, .books and the like. But also applications were received by L’Oreal (.beauty, .hair), Johnson and Johnson (.baby) and the company with the most applications Donuts, Inc., a domain registry company. Donuts, Inc. spent a staggering $57 million on 307 applications. Donuts sees a lot of growth in the management of these new domains since Verisign reported $874 million for the management of .com and .net alone. Whether the new managers of the domains names function transparently and allow for the open purchase of the domains names remains to be seen. The cost of the new domains names will also be under close scrutiny as each will be allowed to establish their own pricing.
The good news is that more domain names will become available before the end of the year. The bad news is that oversight of the new managers will be an evolving task. Let’s hope ICANN is up to it.