There has been much chat recently about the end of the dotcom era, with some pretty creative examples of new addresses surfacing.
Currently there are just 22 so-called “generic top-level domains”, such as .org, and .info with 250 country-specific endings like .uk, but recent changes to internet regulations mean the floodgates have opened for businesses to apply for suffixes that are far more wide-ranging.
There are many problems with the demise of dotcom that spring to mind, such as the eye watering cost of £114,000 for the application process for the new domain names, not to mention the annual operating cost. There is also the fact that it squeezes out smaller companies leaving the way for large global conglomerates to take advantage and secure even more market share and dominance.
But for me, the biggest problem is much closer to home – my mum and dad to be precise. No way are they going to cope with navigating a web with unfamiliar labels and a list of potentially hundreds of domain names. This is a whole new level of complexity which ultimately means a lot more phone calls, asking me a lot more questions.
I mean, it stands to reason that if there are lots of different suffixes there are lots more sites businesses have to register, more that are actually needed as trademark holders ‘panic buy’ to stop others from registering them. This, in itself, will confuse my parents but will also raise issues surrounding web security. And it doesn’t end there, copyrighters will be devoted in fighting the battle of online piracy as a proliferation of websites ending in “.movies” and “.music” surface that distribute copyrighted content illegally.
Today, 100,000 new sites are registered each day. Now, without wanting to actually sound like one of my parents, it’s certainly a far cry from the halcyon filled day when the first .com site was registered on 15 March 1985 by the US computing company Symbolics. And, imagine that figure when new domain names could cover locations such as “.newcastle”, industries such as “.bank” or entertainment such as “.gamble”.
The truth is that the floodgates have opened and in one of the biggest changes to the web in its 25 year history there is no doubt that the big players will be rushing to apply for new domains to secure addresses such as www.info.google or www.ipad.apple. It could also pave the way for more creative alternatives such as www.eatiningin.newcastle or www.whatson.telly and potentially changes the way we use and interact with the web forever.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said it would accept applications for domains with new suffixes from January 12 next year – so what would you like to see?
For me it’s obvious, www.crossthet’sand.thei’s of course. Sorry.
Clare Byatt @Clarebyatt