The rush to claim choice domain names is beginning anew. Now, if the .com you wanted is not available, you have even more places to hang out a shingle in cyberspace: .xxx, .finance, .london, .foo, and now .xyz.
It all started in 2012, when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that oversees domain names, decided to expand the set of top-level domains that it would allow. These are the final strings of characters after the last dot in a domain name, like .net, .com, or .us.
The company behind .xyz, itself called .xyz, shows how this process works. After securing approval from ICANN for the top-level domain, it is now launching a savvy marketing campaign to drum up interest for the virtual homesteading opportunity. Initially, it is only allowing trademark owners to request domains matching their trademarks. According to the company, Chanel.xyz was the first domain claimed. Since then, the company says, Facebook.xyz, Google.xyz, and WordPress.xyz have all been claimed by their respective trademark owners.
Interestingly, .xyz’s own website is at a dot-com address, xyz.com. Go figure.
Companies and individuals will be able to register non-trademarked .xyz domains starting on June 2, although registrars can pre-register requests. (I’m pretty sure that abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvw.xyz is already taken, though.)
ICANN has already approved over 250 new top-level domains, with another 1,397 applications pending as of this month.
Applying for a new domain with the .xyz extension is pretty much the same as with any other domain name: You just go to a domain registrar, request the domain you want, and, if it’s available, pay an annual fee — in this case about $10. Because these are globally-recognized domain names, once the name is approved and it propagates through the domain name system, you’ll have a new address.
Hopefully, it will be one that people can easily remember.