What’s in a Domain?
Generic Top-Level Domains and the New Dotbrand Frontier

by Paola Norambuena, Jeff Mancini, and Jerome McDonnell

A generic top-level domain (gTLD) refers to the suffix at the end of an IP address, the .com, .net, .edu, .org and other standard extensions at the heart of the online experience. Since the 1990s, a company’s online address has been of critical importance, but securing a domain name for a new venture or brand has proven to be an increasing challenge as the most sought after domain— the dotcom— is often already owned. This has all changed as of June 20, 2011. The board of ICANN (the Internet Corporate for Assigned Names and Numbers) has voted that any word in any language may now be considered for use as a gTLD. Anyone and everyone can now apply for the own uniquely branded URL, though for a very high US $185,000 fee. The question now is whether the dotbrand era is upon us.

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