Canon announced on Tuesday that it plans to become one of the first companies to take advantage of the new procedures that ICANN will put in place in 2010 or 2011 to allow creation of new gTLD names (global Top Level Domains).
For the non-geeky, a Top Level Domain will essentially mean that visitors will be able to type simply “canon” into their address bar of their browser instead of canon.com. The biggest appeal of these addresses is their simplicity for consumers to find and remember them.
Despite the appeal of the simplicity of these addresses, a recent Wired article also pointed out several issues with using them. Many web browsers now allow searching by typing a term into the address bar – what will those browsers do when a Top Level Domain (also a single word like “canon”) is entered there? Also, email programs will not recognize an address like john.smith@canon as a valid address. Issues like these will have to be dealt with before TLD’s can become a convenient part of everyday usage.
Registration of TLD’s will be a complex and expensive process, unlike the current domain registration process where five minutes and around $10 will get you any available .com for a year from a registrar like GoDaddy.com. Draft rules for Top Level Domain registration will require a public notification stage, vetting of the company by ICANN, and a minimum fee of $185,000.
Top Level Domains like “scrapbook,” “scrap,” “digitalscrapbook” and other related terms might be very appealing to certain companies in the scrapbook industry, in addition to their own company names. However, given the high price tag for registration, the list of companies in the industry with the budget for making a TLD purchase is fairly small. It will be interesting to see going forward if any of these companies see a TLD as a good investment, or if any new start-ups form to take advantage of the concept in the scrapbooking and crafts industry.