Good grief. The world of domain names looks like it's about to become much more confusing.
You might remember that about a year ago, ICANN (the organisation that manages domain names around the world) decided that we needed some new domain name extensions to go along with .com, .co.uk and the like. It wanted to pave the way for domain names ending in things like .microsoft, .google, .web or .anythingatall.
Sounds confusing? That's because it is. There's already a bewildering array of domain names available out there, from .co and .biz to .info and .xxx. You rarely see companies using them because most businesses realise that a .com or .co.uk is their best bet.
Sure, it's irritating that professional domain name traders have bought up lots of the best addresses. In fact, you could argue that's played a part in creating false demand for new domain extensions.
But no matter. It's happening. New domain extensions are coming soon. There have been over 1,900 applications for the things, mainly driven by big businesses who see a branding opportunity (.amazon, anyone?) and investors who see an opportunity to profit.
The full list of possible new extensions was released recently. Here are a few that caught my eye:
- .bbc. Our world-renowned British Broadcasting Corporation has applied for this one. After all, bbc.co.uk is such a tricky address to recall and type in a hurry.
- .porn, .sex, .sexy and .adult. Oh come on, it is the internet – you must have been expecting some adult-themed domains. But wasn't .xxx supposed to be the definitive adult domain name?
- .cymru, .wales and .scot. If you run a business in Wales or Scotland, would one of these domains interest you? There are no domains proposed for England or Northern Ireland, as far as I can see.
- .rip and .vip. Two interesting target markets: dead people and people who think they're more important than the rest of us. I can't see us bothering with itdonut.rip, if I'm honest.
- .app. As mobile apps have become the thing in the last couple of years, is it any surprise that 13 different bidders are vying to run this domain extension? (Perhaps surprisingly, Apple doesn't appear to be one of them.)
- .bentley, .boots, .guardian, .sky and .nextdirect. These are just some of the big UK brands which have decided they want to take a punt on their own domain extension. But is .nextdirect really any better than next.co.uk?
If you can be bothered then you too can review the whole list of proposed domains. Make sure you look out for my personal favourite: .transformers, which Hasbro has proposed. In fact, that's maybe the only worthwhile one of the lot.