Are you ready for the latest Internet domain name land grab? Starting Thursday, January 12, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will be accepting applications for new, customized, generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

That means that some businesses will be able to customize domain names such as .pokerstars or .pepsi. But for anyone with dreams of domain brokering riches, prepare for disappointment. Snapping up .poker or .bingo is not something most web masters will be able to do.

How It Works

The process for getting one of the new gTLDs is fairly complicated and seems aimed, primarily, at larger corporations. That is unless you’ve got the $185,000 application fee sitting around your house. ICANN is only accepting applications until April and likely won’t revisit the issue for another two, or three, years.

Once you’ve completed the 53 question application, ICANN plans on spending about three months to approve the new gTLDs, but that’s not all there is to this.  Any company that gets approved for a gTLD will also be expected to act as a registry and sell domain names to other businesses. How this might work if Coca-Cola want to buy the domain www.drinkcokenot.pepsi is anybody’s guess.

Marketing Value

The bigger question here is whether or not businesses should bother chasing after the new gTLD’s in the first place. You can safely bet that big corporations will likely jump all over this opportunity and grab up corporate domains like .nfl and .xerox. For these big boys, custom gTLD’s are great for branding and marketing. They’re also, no doubt, hoping to keep cybersquatters from grabbing up prime Internet real estate.

One can easily imagine Ford Motors rolling out new products on sites like www.explorer.ford. But there’s a decent chance that most of Internet users won’t even really notice the new gTLDs in their daily Web travels. After all, most people use search engines instead of the address bar on their browser to find web sites.

Benefits for Affiliates

Most web masters in the affiliate world shouldn’t be effected by the new domains until they’re actually approved in a few months. At that time, we may see a mini-land grab as smaller sites try to buy up domain names from the new registries.

Still, it’s unlikely that a customer would intuitively know to type in www.fulltilt.poker anytime in the near future. But the Internet is a fluid environment and any business that can afford to grab a custom gLTD should pick one up because domain names of all levels are a very valuable commodity.

We won’t really know the full impact of this move for months, or even years, but continue watching CAP for full coverage.

What impact will the new gLTD’s have on iGaming? Let us know in our Website Design and Development forum.


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