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Everything You Know About Internet Addressing Changed Yesterday

January 30, 2014

You probably didn’t know that the Internet changed yesterday. It looks the same as it always did. Meaning that Facebook still won’t show you all your friends’ updates and there are still plenty of cat pictures. But, there was a fundamental change yesterday that will start affecting you over the coming year.

To introduce the change, let me ask you a question. What’s a TLD? (Also called a gTLD)

My geeky friends probably recognize the acronym for a Top Level Domain, or a generic Top Level Domain.

My non-geeky friends are still saying “That didn’t help much.”

A TLD is the three letters that comes at the end of a website address. For example, this blog is hosted at www.rodneymbliss.com. The “.com” portion is the TLD. In this example, rodneymbliss is the domain name. You can also have a subdomain that typically goes before the domain. So, I could rearrange my website so that my blog appeared at the address of myblog.rodneymbliss.com. In this case “my blog” is a subdomain. The “www” that appears at the beginning of a domain name identifies the domain address as a World Wide Web address. We kind of take it for granted, but an address can also have other prefixes like FTP (File Transfer Protocol,) for example.

Next question. How many TLDs are there?

You can probably name a few. There’s:

.com (Commercial)
.net (Networks)
.org (Organizations)
.gov (US Governments)
.mil (US Military)
.edu (US Educational institutions)

There are probably a few more you’re thinking of; especially if you’ve ever registered a domain. (.info, .us etc.) There are also country specific TLDs. Like .uk for the United Kingdom.

There are 22 generic TLDs. Or rather, there were until yesterday. There are now 29. And there are soon going to be a whole lot more. A few years ago, the organization that makes up rules for the Internet (that would be ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) decided that the list of available TLDs was too small. They allowed companies to essentially buy new top level domains. Some people think the change is more about sticking companies for the fees to register than it is about opening up the Internet. The fees can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Anyway, yesterday a company called Donuts Inc. opened up the first 7 new top level domains.

.guru
.bike
.singles
.clothing
.holdings
.plumbing
.ventures

You can go out to GoDaddy.com right now and request a domain name that ends in one of these seven words. I would suggest holding off for a while. The names right now are a little pricey. For example www.rodneymbliss.guru could be mine for $12,539.99. (Because really, $12,540 would be too much.) Oh, and that’s the ANNUAL price.

The names will come down in price over the coming week. That’s a good thing because Donuts Inc has another group ready to go on sale next week.

.camera
.equipment
.estate
.gallery
.graphics
.lighting
.photography

In all Donuts Inc plans to release more than 200 gTLD names over the coming year. And while Donuts Inc is the first to market they are by no means the only ones. There will be literally thousands of gTLDs available in the coming year. What will the ultimate result be? It’s really hard to say. We’ve never really tried anything like this before. Oh sure, they released the .xxx TLD a couple years ago, but it was specifically for porn sites and the porn sites were perfectly happy with the .com addresses they already have. The worry of course, is what happens if someone registers a similar name with a different TLD? http://www.rodneymbliss.guru will be selling for $39/year after next week. would someone grab it and try to lure away my readers? No, probably not going to happen with that name. But, there is certainly more valuable real estate that people might target.

So, expect to start seeing a lot more names at the end of web addresses.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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2 Comments
  1. You know, I wonder if they really will be $39.99 next week, or if they will drop in price. It will be interesting to see how that pans out. Of all of them the “guru” domains will be the ones to look at – everyone wants to be thought of as a “guru”!

  2. The articles I read said that there may be as many as 14,000 new gTLDs released this year.

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