Today the world has about two dozen generic top-level domains (gTLDs) including the popular ones (.com, .net, .org) as well as lesser known ones such as .mobi and .tel. Over time, 200+ country codes TLDs (ccTLDs) were created for all countries, e.g. .ca for Canada or .jp for Japan. When the addressing convention for the Internet was developed nearly forty years ago, TLDs helped create structure and boundaries within the Internet. As initially conceived, .COM denoted commercial businesses, .EDU were restricted to accredited education institutions, etc. Of course, at the time, there were perhaps 100 domains, so this structure worked well. Forty years later, there are over 250 million domains, with more than 111 million domains assigned a .COM designation. As anyone who tries to hand-register a name knows, a good one is hard to find. Simply put, the Internet has outgrown its current naming conventions.
The difficulty with finding a short and intuitive domain name is about to be solved. After many years of discussion and planning, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit body that oversees the structure of the Internet, has authorized a dramatic increase the number of top level domain names. Over the next two years, well over a thousand new gTLDs will be made available, with the first new names available in about a month. Among these new gTLDs are names like .LAWYER, .CAMERA, and .RESTAURANT. You can find a complete, categorized list at the end of this post. Epik is pleased to announce that we can currently help you pre-order the names you need for your business or investing needs. Much more on this below.
The act of dramatically multiplying the number of TLDs is going to materially affect the domain name industry. What is not clear are the specific ways the status quo will change in both the short and long term. Are the new gTLDs a vital new way to improve web navigation while protecting and extending brands, or will proliferation of new names only add confusion, driving even more domain investors to the “safety” of .COMs? For many years, the lodestar of domain investing was the “category defining domain name”, e.g. lawyer.com or pizza.com, for which large amounts of money were spent. Are these new gTLDs the next generation of category defining domain names? How does this affect direct type-in navigation, and by extension, domain parking? How will search engines react?
The truth is that although everyone has an opinion on the matter, like all sea changes, no one truly knows. What is incontrovertible is:
- The introduction of new gTLDs will have a significant impact on the Internet
- How you react to them will be a strategic decision
- It is critical for domain name owners and investors to educate themselves on the gTLDs
But there is one last, incontrovertible aspect of the multi-year rollout of new gTLDs:
- The vast number of new names, some very similar to each other, will be confusing, making it more difficult to navigate all of your choices.
This is where we at Epik have been hard at work — simplifying the domain selection process and streamlining the management of domains across the domain life cycle.
Becoming Informed: The Epik gTLD Field Guides
Epik is pleased to announce that we can pre-order the names you need for your business or investing needs. But more than that, we hope to help educate you on the names that are becoming available. We have developed a “field guide” to the new gTLDs. Each new name has a page in which we have placed information that may help size the market or otherwise help determine whether or not to invest in that name or others like it. To start your exploration, go to epik.com/gtlds.
Pre-Ordering gTLDs Through Epik
There are numerous tools within the Field Guide to order domain names, either singly or in bulk. You can simply add the name to a watch list; whenever there is news about that gTLD, you will be notified.
Among the major features are:
- Exclusive pre-order sold on first-come-first-serve basis
- Easy-to-use watchlist
- Ability to acquire a spot on a Preferred Waitlist
- Ability to track specific domain names and/or just gTLDs
- Ability to upgrade or downgrade pre-orders to/from waitlist
- All pre-order fees are fully refundable
We have integrated the preordering and tracking of your new domains into our existing backorder system, as you can see below. Over the next few weeks we will be rolling out additional features, including one that will give you a clear picture of how many people are competing for the same domain name; these new features will be applied not just to our new gTLD pre-ordering system, but to our backorder system as well. We strongly believe that accurate information and a transparent process are critical to any any backorder or preorder system.
Categorized List of the New Generic TLDs
We encourage you to utilize the gTLD Field Guide so you can learn more about this dramatic change in the Internet, and how you may wish to respond. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions on how we can best help you navigate these new waters.