Remember playing the board game Monopoly? There was no worse feeling than landing on your fellow player’s Boardwalk property, with their two red houses. One of the most unfortunate ways to end your game and fun.
Enter real life.
You have a company, a dream or personal desire to stake your claim on the internet. In searching for the right matching or brandable domain names, all the ‘best’ .COMs are taken. Finding a domain today has become…well, so limiting. Like opening up a Christmas morning present to find you’ve received a set of ice cube trays. Perhaps this is why out of every 1,600 domains searched for, less than 1/10th of 1% become registered.
So what you want is taken…now what? A .COM domain made up of three or more words and perhaps a name including a hyphen? How are people reading, watching or listening to ads supposed to remember that? Actually, they don’t.
Enter ICANN – the organization that coordinates and governs the Domain Name System (DNS), or address system of the internet. Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .COM, .EDU, .MIL, .ORG began in 1984 and have been the mainstay ‘right of the dot’ endings for years. However, many abbreviations, plus one and two-word domain names with these endings became taken by corporations, associations individuals and domain investors. As a result, much of the premium and semi-premium digital real estate for the next generation of internet users and businesses was taken.
In 2011, ICANN voted to allow internet address system to grow substantially by allowing the registration of largely unrestricted new endings to the right of the dot. Then Chairman of ICANN, Peter Thrush stated: “[This] decision will usher in a new internet age. We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration. Unless there is a good reason to restrain it, innovation should be allowed to run free.”
Today, there are more than 417 new gTLDs in use. Some of these include business terms like .beer and .plumbing, geographic names like .paris and .berlin, as well as foreign symbols such as .移动, which is Chinese for mobile. Now ‘JohnsPizzaShopofBrooklyn.com’ can simply become ‘Johns.pizza’. With more than 2.5 Million registered domains with new gTLDs, the space is growing and gaining traction.
By far, the most popular new gTLD is .xyz – an ending which is purposely positioned as highly generic. The CEO of .xyz is Daniel Negari, an entrepreneur and visionary in this space. His intent is to remove domain restrictions for the next generation of internet users, by creating a low-cost global alternative to .com. In just over four months, .xyz has greatly outpaced all other gTLDs by selling more than 630,000 domain names – and is on pace for more than 1 million names in its first twelve months of operation.
Opposition to Negari’s vision typically comes from domain investors, who all have a vested interest in seeing .com domains remain free from such competition. However, as gTLD growth continues to increase, large companies are also getting on board. Many such as Amazon and Google have invested in their own extensions. Yahoo has gone on record as saying, “The .com suffix had special meaning for the first generation of Internet users. For children born this century, it’ll be just one fish in the sea.”
Many of us rarely play Monopoly anymore. When we do, it’s because nostalgia keeps this game alive. For some reason, we remember having fun with this game as children. But we’ve grown up and realize there are much better opportunities for us, and for the next generation for growth and learning. The same is true with .com – it’s had a great run, but it’s time to move forward.
This isn’t your Daddy’s internet anymore.