As the process to roll out hundreds of new top-level domain names, which will join familiar ones like “.org” and “.com,” grinds forward, the head of the largest domain registrar predicted the public will be able to buy them by June.
GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving, attending a large scale meeting of current and future domain registries this week, said by phone that no one knows exactly when the first batch of new names will be available but that the “over/under” consensus among the sellers is three months from now.
Under the process, the new names — which include suffixes like “.party,” “.dog” and “.mormon” — are expected to be rolled out in batches of 20 at a time. The impending sales will deliver millions of dollars to the domain name industry which makes major money off registration fees and in the secondary market for internet names.
The industry has been touting the addition of the approximately 2000 new suffixes as a “land rush” and a “gold rush.” Critics, however, have warned the process will mean a surge in cyber-squatting and trademark infringement. Companies, which have likened it to a shakedown, are already exasperated at having to pay for new names like “.xxx” they don’t need or want but feel obliged to obtain lest someone abuse them. This could occur, for example, if someone who is not Disney bought the name “www.disney.dog”.
The domain name sales have also been characterized as a brazen act of self-dealing by ICANN, an unaccountable agency that overseas the naming process for the internet.
GoDaddy’s Irving defends the process, saying “free market economics allow people to buy the names they want.” He added that the potential for abuse is lower since so-called domain parking (sitting on a name but using it just for ads) is not as big of a business as it once was.
The first of the new names to go on sale are likely to be non-Roman scripts like Chinese or Russian. These were given high priority by ICANN and the order of others was determined by lottery; other names tapped to go early are “.wedding” and “.buy.” (You can see the priority list here).
GoDaddy, anticipating a sizable amount of new business, said it is making its website easier to navigate in response. The company this week also dropped its own application to manage “.casa” and “.home” in order not to be perceived as competing with the names it sells on behalf of others.
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