Domain Name Expansion Arrives - From .COM to .BRAND

The ICANN board has formally approved the new gTLD program. First announced nearly three years ago, applications for new gTLD will be accepted from January 12th, 2012 to April 12th, 2012. According to the current roadmap, the first extensions should be operational by late 2013.

As we've been saying for quite some time, the new gTLD's will change the way consumers find information on the Web and how businesses organize their online presence.

"Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organizations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways," ICANN said in a statement.

As you might imagine, a great deal of news is surrounding the announcement. Here's just a sampling:

- Domain name registry and managed DNS service Afilias entered into a formal agreement with Chinese Internet services provider HiChina (subsidiary of Alibaba) to help Chinese brands take advantage of the new TLD program.

- Hostway, parent company of RegistryPro, (operators of the .PRO the top-level domain for professionals), announced today the launch of Registry Services Corporation, the retail version of its registry back-end service.

- An interesting infographic from Melbourne IT which indicates brand interest in the new gTLD's is below: