Global internet body ICANN has added four domain name suffixes, the first of hundreds expected in the coming years in the online addressing system’s largest expansion ever.
The first four words are: شبكة, the Arabic word for “web”; 游戏, the Chinese word for “game”; and the Russian words for “online” and “web site”, онлайн and сайт.
People and businesses should be able to start registering names ending on those suffixes soon. The announcement reflects the addition of those suffixes into the master database.
There are currently more than 300 suffixes, mostly codes assigned for specific countries. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been taking bids for new ones in English and other languages.
Until now, generic top-level domains (gTLDS) – as they are known – were limited to mostly familiar endings such as .com, .net and .biz.
But ICANN has decided to open this system up, inviting companies to submit applications for names they would like to register.
Firms came forward to request almost 2,000 new names including the likes of .porn, .ninja, and .ferrari.
Ben Anderson, head of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) at NetNames, the online brand protection specialist, discusses the launch of the first four IDNs.
“Last night the body responsible for the allocation of Top Level Domains into the root, IANA, finally delegated the first four new gTLDs onto the internet. After eight years of hard and often frustrating work through the multi-stakeholder model, the first new gTLDs to go live are four Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs):
.xn--ngbc5azd (شبكة.) — “.web” in Arabic. Operated by dotShabaka Registry
.xn--unup4y (.游戏) — “.games” in Chinese. Operated by Donuts
.xn--80aswg (.сайт) — “.site” in several Cyrillic languages. Operated by CORE Association
.xn--80asehdb (.онлайн) — “.online” in several Cyrillic languages. Also operated by CORE Association
We are already starting to see the emergence of registry sites in Latin script with http://nic.онлайн/, http://nic.сайт/ and a full Arabic script domain from dotShabaka ://نقطة-شبكة.امارات/ going live. This represents a huge turning point in the internet economy which is already worth an estimated $4.2 trillion in the G20 economies.
Since the launch of the first domain the internet has experienced exponential growth and the emergence of new gTLDs signifies how it will continue to evolve. For example, there are 1.7 billion Arabic speakers and the launch of .xn--ngbc5azd effectively opens up the web to the Arab world. Moving forward, organisations will be able to register web addresses in Arabic script, allowing businesses to fully engage with targets in that market and providing a gateway to new regions.
However, as more gTLDs are released online, organisations will need to rethink their existing online brand protection policies and develop a domain name strategy that reflects the launch of new domain endings. Moving forwards, organisations will need to identify those domains that are most relevant for their business and customer engagement strategies and ensure that they choose those which add greatest value to the business.”
Commenting on the move, Jan Corstens, Project Director, ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse, said: “The issue of cybersquatting and related domain name disputes is likely to be exacerbated following today’s shakeup of the Internet, and later on down the line when hundreds more web extensions appear online.
“In this context, today’s news that these new extensions are finally launching is a massive call to action for businesses to ensure they are protecting their brands and trademarks online. Otherwise they are both leaving themselves open to intellectual property infringement and also, ultimately putting consumers at risk. With the counterfeit goods market set to exceed $1.7 trillion per annum by 2015, industries producing goods that have significant safety implications, such as cosmetics or pharmaceuticals, need to be aware of who might try and imitate their brands online.”
“ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) is the only ICANN authorised mechanism available to offer trademark protection across every single new domain extension being launched. Failing to record marks into the TMCH and being unaware of those who intend to abuse your trademark, in order to market imitation goods or services, can have serious consequences.”
For more information, visit ICANN here