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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Are Premium Domain Names Jumping the Dot?

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

The Internet is currently being reorganized on a grand scale and many are scrambling to make heads or tails of what the new domain name landscape will look like when the smoke is cleared in a few short years. We are all staring face to face with a massive expansion of the domain name system. The scale of which is not likely to ever be seen again.

Up until just recently there have been just 22 (generic) global top level domain name extensions such as .com, .net, .org, .info, .edu and .org. ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is in the process of expanding that number of domain number extensions from 22 to upwards of 1000 new extensions. In my last blog post listed all of the 1930 applications that ICANN received for the new Global Top Level Domain Names.

So take the full list of the current 22 top level domain extensions. Soon over one thousand new extensions to that list that will soon be added. That is where we will be in few short years. Some of the initial (extension) introductions are already active and more coming week by week. What will that all do to the ordering of the domain name system and the Internet as a whole?

What is likely to ultimately happen is a  "buy up" of the new name domain names with the new extensions. Given that there are over 250 million currently registered names with the only 22 historic domain extensions (plus some country code extensions such as .us, .cn, .jp, .ca etc). We could ultimately see the total domain registrations jump from 250 million into the billions over time. That would be a big jump after taking 20 years for the Internet to get to the 250 million domain registrations.

However, what I find more interesting is what is likely to be Phase II of the domain expansions. What would you think if we soon had 10,000 or 100,000 new domain extensions? How could that happen? Very easily. The same way that the first expansion happened. However as often is the case with technological advancements, developments and innovation- the cost of the applications for the domain extensions will likely drop dramatically. What if the (ICANN) application fee was was dropped to say $25,000 worldwide (from the current $185,000 application fee)? How many applications would there have been this round? Likely more than the 1930 that ICANN received this round. As the applications become more affordable (and they will) you will see more and more applications. Also, you will see more and more applications and nearly limitless applications for the new domain name extensions. As I mentioned in a previous post. There are over 7 billion people in the world. How long before most everyone has a domain name or two, or many or hundreds?

If there were eventually 100,000 Global Top Level domain extensions-what would have happened to domain names and to the ordering of the Internet? What would have happened- is that second level domain names (the name to the left of the dot) would have essentially become what is the top level domain name now (the right of the dot.) The premium domain names would have "jumped the dot."

So for example with the current system you now have, and (or .net, .org, .info or .whatever). Those would be second level domain names with top level extensions.

If .App, .Apps and .Applications were to become top level extensions (and they all certainly might) then we have massively expanded the "applications" and uses of that category of domain names.

For example with the word "app" with "original" 22 global top level domain extensions you have 22 options for app., app.,net, etc. With the new .app extension you would now have literally millions of potential uses and possibilities for that name. For example,, etc. etc. etc. You can now do that for every extension.

So back to my original premise and speculation as to what the domain name landscape could become with 1000, 10,000 or 100,000 new top level extensions. What you would have is a gradual and evolutionary process of what are now the second level domain names transitioning to largely become the new top level domain names. Or that the premium domain names are essentially moving from the left of the dot to the right. The aforementioned "jumping the dot." That is of course a gross simplification of that process given that each new top level domain name extension opens up literally millions of new second level domain name combinations with that one extension. However, the effect could be the same.

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