The biggest change in domain-name history is about to get underway, despite plenty of critics. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is starting the application period for new top-level domains. This will allow any company or organization, with enough money, to request custom TLDs such as .apple or .bank and so on.
ICANN argues that this will spur innovation and competition in the domain name market which has relied on the few TLDs ICANN has approved so far, .com, .net, .mil, .info and so on as well as the country code top level domains, such as .co.uk or .jp.
But when ICANN's new plan to open up the process to anyone is in full swing, we should see an explosion of new domains on the internet. Virtually any word, in any language, can become a TLD.
The critics though, and there are many, see the move as a very dangerous one and, at the very least, a very expensive one for the companies and organizations that will have to protect their brands and names and secure new domains before others do it for them.
The fact that it costs $185,000, €145,000 to apply for a new domain, without a guarantee that you'll receive it and without a refund if the answer is 'no,' only adds to the fire and the argument that this is nothing but a cash grab from ICANN and the registrars which are poised to profit nicely from the move.
ICANN is in fact anticipating the backlash, there's been plenty of criticism already. In fact, it's setting aside $60,000, €47,000 out of each application fee for lawsuits alone.
Which are bound to come, some 50 US companies, the likes of Coca Cola and GE, have vehemently opposed the move. Nonetheless, ICANN approved it last June and is now asking for applications, up until April 12.