In the last week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) have decided to vote in favor of increasing the number of domain name suffixes available.
This is one of the biggest changes to the structure of the internet ever seen. Very soon domain names (the URL/web address) will be able to end in almost any word from any language. For example, in the future, Technology Bloggers could move from TechnologyBloggers.org to TechnologyBloggers.tb (for technology bloggers) or TechnologyBloggers.tech, or . almost anything!
Next year ICANN will begin taking applications from all sorts of different organisations for their preferences over what new domain name suffixes are to be created.
So what are the benefits and drawbacks of this decision to increase the availability of domain names?
Many domain names may become cheaper to buy, as if there are many more domain names available, simple supply and demand brings the price down, as there is a more diverse supply of domain names, therefore the price should in theory come down.
It could be easier for people to get hold of a domain name they want, as if .com and .org are taken, (for example) then they may be able to have .site (for example) instead.
Furthermore, people will be able to be able to choose much more topic specific URL’s for their website. This could help improve URL description. For example, if the domain suffix .blog was opened up, you would no longer need to have the domain ‘pastablog.com’ as the .blog domain would give away the fact that the site is a blog, so this particular domain name could be shortened to ‘pasta.blog’ a much simpler and easier to remember system.
The not so good…
If we get loads of new domain names suffixes it could be a nightmare trying to remember URL’s. Currently there is a relatively small (around 20-25 excluding regional variations) finite amount of suffixes it could be, however this may not be the case in future.
To add to this, the availability of many more domain names is likely to dramatically increase the amount of internet spam and potential fraud, as it would be much easier to fool users into giving details to a bogus site, it there were no universally recognised ‘quality’ suffixes i.e. .com and .org.
To apply for a new suffix costs over £100,000, so it looks like it will be a very costly process if such a fund is needed to perform the transition. If it does cost this much, it is likely that the current global internet giants are likely to ‘mop up’ any new domain names that are relating to their company before others even get chance. This would mean that despite the increase in suffixes, the choice that people have is still relatively small.
What’s your opinion? Is this going to be a massive leap forward for a web, or will the idea fall flat on it’s face?