Getting vanity plates for vehicles is something we Indians don’t get to experience. There are VIP numbers which cost an awful lot of money and we’ve read about special plates going for as high as `17 lakh if more than one person bids for it. While vanity number plates may continue to be a dream for the average person, a vanity domain name may not be. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the authority on everything related to domains and the registrars that maintain them had only 22 TLDs (Top Level Domains) available till now. So everyone had to stick to a .com or .net or any of the 20 other domains available. Now that the plan for implementing gTLDs has finally come to fruition, we are going to see some creative new names arising.
What’s a gTLD?
gTLD stands for Generic Top Level Domain. So instead of a .com or a .in you’ll now be able to apply for a .personal or a .enterprises URL. ICANN is in the process of allowing companies to come forth and apply for new gTLDs. There is a gruelling evaluation session in the process to check for popularity and feasibility before they approve a new gTLD and assign a registrar to manage the same. The entire process can take two or more years and this began back in 2011 so now we are about to see the launch of these new gTLDs. And by the end of 2014 there will literally be 100s of new gTLDs to choose from. Think about it in this manner, what if you could have a new gTLD just for your industry. If you’re into landscaping and your company is named Triksy’s then you could have a domain name as “tricksys.gardens” or if you have a restaurant then you could have a domain “yourrestaurantname.menu” which would take people directly to a menu page and have the option to order from there. Now think if there are restaurants all over the city and everyone decides to buy a .menu domain, looking up any restaurant’s menu is all about typing the name of the restaurant and then adding .menu at the end.
The same goes on for the hundreds of different industries out there. The possibilities are numerous. The image on the right gives you a little list of all the new gTLDs available along with the rates they are selling for.
What’s in it for you?
1. A plethora of options
Till now there have only been 22 gTLDs but by the end of this year you will have hundreds to pick from. You will have gTLDs suited for your business that makes it every the more easier to remember a website URL. Moreover, with more options the competition between the registrars that manage the gTLDs increases. This means you get cheaper domain names after the initial period. Also, if that URL you always wanted was taken then this is the chance to buy one with a gTLD suited for your business. This makes for a better URL than a normal .com or .net
2. Brand recall
Like we said, it becomes easier to remember a URL with a multitude of choices. If you own a resort then a prospective patron could simply type your resort’s name and then add .resort to the end of it to land on your web page, i.e. if you’ve bothered to buy the domain.
3. Prevent squatting
With the introduction of more gTLDs comes the prospect of more and more scamsters hoping to swoop in on your brand name and buy a domain. Squatting is usually followed by offers to sell the domain for a ridiculous price. With the introduction of the new gTLDs, ICANN introduced the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) which helps brands who have already registered a certain brand name as a trademark to stake their claims to all URLs featuring the new gTLDs. We’ll go into the mechanics of this system in the coming paragraphs.
4. Easy to search for
With all these new gTLDs comes the possibility that search engines could soon gear up to specifically search in certain gTLDs. So even if a prospective visitor does not remember your URL in its entirety, typing in a partial name affixed with the right gTLD could force the search engine to search the entire gTLD for your site. This feature is speculative at the moment but we do see promise in such a feature.
When can you get your domain on the new gTLD?
The entire process for a new gTLD takes a few years but you are given multiple avenues along the process to get your domain registered. Let’s look at the process.
A registrar applies for a new gTLD based on market research for popular terms. This application period is about three months long, then comes the who process of evaluation of the said application which in turn takes up most of the time in the approval process. Once evaluated and authorised, a registrar is picked to manage the gTLD (usually the applicant). After this step the registrar opens the gTLD to the clearing house.
The Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) is an authority that coordinates with trademark offices across the globe and verifies the trademark rights obtained by a company. The TMCH gives brands a single point of access for the companies to register URLs on the new gTLDs. If a brand owns a particular trademark then that particular brand is given the first chance to register the URL. This opportunity lasts for sixty days and is termed as the Sunrise phase.
The roll-out process for new gTLDs
After the Sunrise phase, if the company doesn’t register the URL then the URL will be passed on to the general public but the pricing of the domain depends upon the number of people contesting the URL. If two or more people contest the URL in the 30 day period then at the end of the 30 day period an auction will be held between all contesting parties and the winner walks away with the URL. This period is called the Landrush period. You can pre-book domains which is what makes you a contender in the Landrush period. There are different hierarchies in pre-booking which allows for those who pay a premium to get ahead of the line.
The last period is when the URL is opened to the general public on a first come first serve basis. Anyone visiting any registrar can now register a URL without the need for having registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse.
What’s it going to cost me?
This comes down to which period are you hoping to buy your domain. The sunrise period will be the most expensive in this regard since you get to buy domains across every new gTLD that gets accepted. So each new gTLD will add to your expense. Then if you are interested in the Landrush phase then it comes down to a possible auction if more than one party applies for the same domain and this might end up costing more if you go in for buying a domain on every new gTLD.
The new gTLDs are quite expensive at the moment
The last phase is when you get it for the cheapest but then again, if the gTLD is popular and the domain name you are applying for is also popular then in all likelihood you might end up missing on getting the domain that you wanted. We checked out the current pricing on BigRock and they aren’t cheap compared to the normal .com and .net domains. Registering a .recipies domain will set you back by Rs. 3,099 while those in the adult business looking for a .xxx domain need to shell out Rs. 5,199. It’s a small price to pay to get a better reach for your business and being a SOHO these should help you out.