ICANN votes to roll out 400-800 new generic top-level domains


Wendy Seltzer posts this historic snapshot of the aye vote at ICANN in favor of launching 400-800 new generic top-level domains. The domains -- which will include the names of cities, lots of abstract nouns, and many other words -- are staunchly opposed by the entertainment industry for obscure reasons (best guess is that they worry that if there are more possible domains, it'll be harder to police trademarks and copyright enforcement bots will have to employ larger tables, both of which are pretty thin excuses for what's been rather a lot of outrage). Inside word is that they're going to sue ICANN to stop the domains' rollout, and that there's been some sneaky stuff snuck into IANA (the entity that contracts with ICANN to manage the domain system) to force ICANN to reverse this.

One more quirk of the new domains: I'm told by a reliable source that they'll be differentially priced from the get-go -- that is, of the domains that you can buy (not .SONY, but maybe .LONDON), you'll pay more for registering common words than for nonsense strings, shorter words may cost more than longer ones, etc. Rather than providing a windfall to the people who grab the largest number of potentially lucrative identifiers, the domain registrars will use auction mechanisms and other pricing schemes to price their virtual goods out of the gate. Of course, with 400-800 new generic top-level domains, the artificial scarcity that made sex.com and so forth so valuable will be largely obliterated, which may take the prices down a peg or two.

ICANN41: ICANN Board votes on new gTLD roll-out