.XXX was just the beginning — get ready for 1934 new top level domains

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Microsoft wants .docs, .windows, and .xbox. Amazon — and 12 other applicants — wants .app. Seven different companies want .love.

These companies, and plenty more, are asking ICANN, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, for no less than 1934 different top level domains …  a huge expansion of the 280 currently in use, which mainly consist of the familiar .com, .net, .org, and the various country domains.

This past week ICANN met in Toronto to discuss new top-level domains. Hundreds of companies want to own new top-level domains, and some want to own almost hundreds of. Amazon, for instance, has applied for 77 top-level domains — app, of course, but also .kindle, .movie, .music, .author, and .buy.

What is a company or brand to do in this massive, potentially confusing new world which promised to give us more than 2000 top level domains? VentureBeat talked to Liesbeth Mack-de Boer about what’s coming up, what’s hot, and what are some the pitfalls.

Above: Liesbeth Mack-de Boer

Image Credit: Webfest.me

She’s the chief sales officer for Sedo, the worlds largest domain marketplace. You may have heard of Sedo when the company processed the sale of Sex.com for $13 million two years ago. The company currently has 16 million domain names in its database for sale.

VentureBeat: Which of the new domains are you excited about?

Mack-de Boer: We really like some of the geos like .NYC. There are also a lot of generics, such as .app. Others that will do very well include .green and .eco, and even non-commercial ones like .hiv — we were really skeptical about them at first — have developed a really nice community spirit around them.

We’re also really excited about .pizza.

VentureBeat: Do we really need new domain names? Will companies buy them?

Mack-de Boer: I absolutely think that they will buy them. For instance, to promote their green presence, companies can buy their brand.green. We already have companies trying to do that.

There’s great added value in a lot of the new names. There are other ones that we don’t know how they will end up … we’re not enthusiastic about all of them.

VentureBeat: It kind of seems like a money grab, forcing companies to buy more domain names.

Mack-de Boer: Well, it’s all about marketing. Companies don’t need to buy every extension for every product … most companies already prioritize what they buy.

VentureBeat: If you don’t buy your brand.whatever, will your brand still be protected?

Mack-de Boer: Yes. Deloitte is building a trademark clearing house so brands can register and if someone tried to register a domain name that conflicts with their brands, they will be notified.

VentureBeat: What happens to .com in this new reality?

Mack-de Boer: .com is still the strongest domain by far, and we expect that it will stay king. But it remains to be seen what people will go to …

VentureBeat: Do you expect any consumer confusion when the new domains come in?

Mack-de Boer: Yes. There will be consumer confusion for sure. In fact, we’ve been discussing how to work around it. For example … how do you put it on a billboard?

If you use newyork.pizza, what does that mean to people? Some are going to have to bring back the www. in front to ensure that their new address is understood.


After meeting, it appears that no decisions on top-level domains will be made until an April 2013 meeting in Beijing. However, according to SEDO, most if not all of the domains will be making it through.

photo credit: Viktor Hertz via photopin cc

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