Top Level Domains (TLDs)

A Top Level Domain is the text to the right of the final “." in a domain name. For example, the most popular Top Level Domain today is the .COM Top Level Domain.

The Domain Name marketplace currently consists of a limited number of Top Level Domains. There is .COM, .NET, .BIZ, and .INFO, just to name a few. All in all, there are currently just 22 generic Top Level Domains available on the World Wide Web today. But all that is about to change.

In 2012, for the first time in the history of the Internet, ICANN held its first open application process, inviting organizations to apply for an any Top Level Domain of their choice. The response has been phenomenal. Over 1,900 organizations applied to create new Top Level domains. For example, BMW has applied to create the .BMW Top Level Domain, and Affilias has applied to create the .APP Top Level Domain.

A Top Level Domain is the text to the right-hand side of the final "." in a domain name For Example, .COM is the Most Popular TLD(Top Level Domain) today.

ICANN, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is responsible for determining which Top Level Domains can be created on the Internet known as the World Wide Web. Up until the present time, ICANN has allowed only 22 generic Top Level Domains (such as .COM and .NET) to be created. However, as a result of the recent application process, experts expect approximately 700 new Top Level Domains to become available to the general public.

Every Top Level Domain (for example, .COM or .NET) is owned by a company known as a Registry. For example, Verisign, Inc., owns the .COM and .NET Registries, while Afilias owns the .INFO Registry. Every Registry sets its own policy in terms of who may purchase domain names within its Top Level Domain, and which Registrars (eg. may sell its domain names. For example, in its application for the .BMW Top Level Domain, BMW has indicated that it will not sell domain names to the public. However, the applicants for the .WEB Top Level Domain have indicated that they will sell .WEB domain names to the public.

Imagine www.Shop.Canon or www.Play.Poker

Projected Timeline

When will domain names within the new Top Level Domains go on sale? The short answer is that nobody knows. It depends on how long it takes ICANN to approve each new Top Level Domain applicant, and it depends on how long it takes each Top Level Domain applicant to actually launch its services after it receives approval from ICANN.

ICANN has announced that it intends to begin evaluating Top Level Domain applicants in December 2012. In its Applicant Guidebook, ICANN indicated that it expects that most applicants will take between 3-6 months for evaluation before it is approved or declined. After that, each applicant has one year after approval before it is required to “go live".

Based on this information, Inc is projecting that the earliest Top Level Domains could begin offering domain names for sale to the public in 2014.

However, a recent lawsuit brought against ICANN by Name.Space may delay this process significantly.

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All News

Five More TLDs Delegated

February 23, 2014 - Five more TLDs have been delegated - or added - to the Internet. The General Availability date for these TLDs has not been announced.

Six TLDs Launch This Week

February 23, 2014 - Six more TLDs are scheduled to launch this week: .sexy, .tattoo, .diamonds, .enterprises, .tips and .voyage.

View our Launch Calendar

February 23, 2014 - releases a launch calendar showing the upcoming launch dates for new TLDs.