Published June 21, 2011
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decision to steam ahead on opening up the Internet's naming system to "unleash the global human imagination" will not see the death of .com or .com.au domain names - or any other established extension for that matter.
What it will do is allow companies and organisations an option to establish a personalised identity such as .companyname - assuming they can afford the $185,000 fee for the privilege and jump through the hoops that will be put in place by ICANN.
In addition to the initial fee, there will be an annual fee in the thousands in order to maintain one of these custom domain name extensions and the expense alone will ensure the average netizen and small online businesses will not be scrambling to establish such an online identity.
The Internet's Domain Name System (DNS) already consists of hundreds of TLD's (Top Level Domains) - some are generic (gTLD) such as .com and .biz, but the majority are country code based (ccTLD); such as Australia's .au extension. The new naming options will allow for a massive expansion of the gTLD space.
Even when ccTLD's have been released for registration by parties residing outside of a country at very competitive pricing in the past; .com.au domain names haven't suddenly stopped working, become undesirable, nor have they faded into obscurity. Regardless of how many new gTLD's are created in the future, established extensions will be like the longest established streets in a town - known by far more people than street names in a new housing estate.
One of the major advantages of a tightly controlled name space such as .au is the confidence in web sites using it has cultivated over the years - and that is unlikely to change with the launch of any new gTLD's.
In order to register a .com.au or any other .au name, registrants must be able to meet specific eligibility criteria. It's this criteria that maintains the integrity of the .au name and as mentioned by auDA's Board Chair when the 2 millionth .au domain name registration milestone was reached in March this year, the extension has become a "trusted, well-recognised space for all Australian businesses, organisations and individuals."
As for the .com extension, its level of awareness among consumers globally will assure it not only survives, but continues to thrive for the foreseeable future.
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