The “Wild West” of Domain Names All Over Again

October 20, 2014 - 2 minutes read

NYC top level domain name

Until recently, businesses and entrepreneurs establishing websites had a limited selection of available domains to choose from. The Internet was dominated by .com, .net, .org and, to a lesser extent, .biz. Yet, with an aggressive expansion of available domain names in the online world, that’s all set to change. The only remaining hurdle is awareness. Specifically, the problem is that most businesses and entrepreneurs simply don’t know of the multitude of alternatives now available to them.

This expansion is largely being driven by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. The nonprofit organization has triggered a rush among established businesses to register their company and brand names across the hundreds of newly available domain names while offering unprecedented opportunities for newcomers to personalize their online branding identities.

ICANN has fielded almost 2,000 applications for new domain names; over 400 have already been approved and are now online. One of the most prominent new domain names is .email, which has been aggressively targeted by a UK-based company called Yoyo. Yoyo has already registered dozens of established brand and company names on the .email subdomain, hoping to entice companies like Dunkin Donuts, Budweiser, eHarmony, Foot Locker, Lufthansa and Sheraton to pony up.

Brand names, geographic names, business terms and activity terms are among the new types of available subdomains — .ibm, .youtube, .bmw, .berlin, .paris, .pizza, .work and .email are just a few examples of the dozens of available possibilities. ICANN has targeted 2018 for another round of domain expansion, meaning the days of .com domination may well be numbered.

For iPhone application development professionals, this change signals a new era of growth for the Internet. One of the most obvious opportunities lies in guiding new website creators to the enormously expanded range of options now available.

If you’re a mobile app developer in Houston, you may want to think about ways in which this new era of Internet expansion will affect the software development industry. Mobile apps and the Internet are no longer in their infancy; these developments signal a kind of “coming of age” move towards next-generation functionality. What will that landscape look like?

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