New top-level domain names targeted

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has approved seven new top-level domains, including .info, .biz and .coop, in response to the increasing pressure on current top-level domains such as .com and .org. The domains should go live in July next year.

According to figures from analyst firm Gartner, a typical enterprise user should expect to pay $70,000 to cover itself across all domains with a maintenance figure of around $20,000 a year.

Analysts and domain name registrars warned that any company with an identifiable brand and web presence faces the prospect of registering at least 300 name variants by the end of next year – to avoid cybersquatters or competitors hijacking its brand.

‘Any enterprise that has or plans to have an internet presence should develop a domain naming strategy that goes beyond dotcom,’ said Audrey Apfel, enterprise network strategies and internet strategies analyst at Gartner.

Domain name registrars warned that how Icann rolls out the new domains will be critical in restricting cybersquatting.

‘If Icann opens it up to speculative buying and therefore to lawsuits, a lot of time, money and frustration will be spent in recovering names from cybersquatters,’ warned Niamh Cullen, marketing manager at Domain Audit.

‘The pattern that has emerged after only a week of the multilingual domains being opened up is a sign of things to come,’ said Tom Barrett, chief executive of Netnames.

‘Nearly 600,000 names have been registered in the four different character sets already. These cybersquatting issues are happening now in the multi-lingual space,’ he added.

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