ICANN, the international organization responsible for coordinating the Domain structure of the Internet, just voted to allow generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) to be created. This means that instead of being stuck with .com, .net. .org, etc…organizations can request and be granted the ability to oversee their own TLD. A group of automakers could band together and register .car, for example, and you could have ford.car, honda.car, and so on. On the other hand, Ford could theoretically register .car, and prevent other companies from using it. The methodology that ICANN is going to use to prevent this sort of meta-cybersquatting isn’t really apparent at this time. The Draft version of the application guidebook is now available, and among the details is the application fee. It will cost $185,000 to apply for a new gTLD…a fee which ICANN will keep, even if your application is denied. Even with that, I think that serious thought should be given by ALA and IFLA to a joint application for a top level domain of .lib or .library (I did not know that there was already a TLD for .museum). Given the relative failure of the use of non-standard TLDs, I’m not sure a .library TLD would be used. But it’s far better that ALA and IFLA control it than Microsoft or Google. 

ICANN approves custom Top Level Domains

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