Thursday, May 31, 2012

Expanding the Internet domain space

In 2016, it’s estimated that almost half of the world’s population will be online, yet nearly 50 percent of the websites we visit are found in the .com top-level domain (TLD), which was among the first TLDs created in 1984. Despite the great opportunities the web has enabled for people around the world, there is still a lingering question about the diversity of the domain space (given that the number of generic TLDs has only increased by 14 in the last 28 years).

In 2008, ICANN announced a program to expand the number of generic TLDs (think .com, .org, .edu), developed through its bottom-up, multi-stakeholder process, in which we participate. Given this expansion process, we decided to submit applications for new TLDs, which generally fall into four categories:
  • Our trademarks, like .google
  • Domains related to our core business, like .docs
  • Domains that will improve user experience, such as .youtube, which can increase the ease with which YouTube channels and genres can be identified
  • Domains we think have interesting and creative potential, such as .lol
We want to make the introduction of new generic TLDs a good experience for web users and site owners. So we will:
  • Make security and abuse prevention a high priority
  • Work with all ICANN-accredited registrars
  • Work with brand owners to develop sensible rights protection mechanisms that build upon ICANN’s requirements
We’re just beginning to explore this potential source of innovation on the web, and we are curious to see how these proposed new TLDs will fare in the existing TLD environment. By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse—and perhaps shorter—signposts in cyberspace.

Update Jun 13: You can view the list of gTLDs we applied for below: