Here’s a new acronym to get familiar with: gTLD. It stands for “Generic Top Level Domain.” You can probably rattle off the names of a few gTLDs without even pausing to think: .com, .org, .net, .edu or .gov are all examples of generic top level domains.
But you may have noticed a recent surge of websites with unique domains, such as .xyz or .life. There are now a wide range of gTLDs to choose from, so let’s take a look at some of the most popular categories:
Ecommerce: .website, .video, .site, .systems, .online, .hosting, .digital, .link, .host, .network
Sports & Hobbies: .pub, .bet, .win, .cricket, .racing, .run, .training
Professional Industries: .loan, .law, .science, .marketing, .news, .consulting, .accountant
Business: .support, .feedback, .trade, .solutions, .agency, .company, .guru, .review, .services, .help, .ltd, .directory, .wiki, .expert
Photography & Art: .photo, .pics, .photography, .gallery, .design, .media, .ink
Geographic: .city, .global, .world, .nyc, .london, .paris, .berlin, .tokyo, .moscow, .international
Social: .live, .party, .vip, .red, .blue, .lol, .top, .today, .date, .love, .social, .mom, .men, .tips, .club, .events, .zone
What Makes These New gTLDs so Appealing?
You probably noticed a few gTLDs in the list above that are appropriate for your business, and it’s a good idea to look into getting one. In fact, there are over 600 new gTLDs that you can choose from, all of which were approved by the Internet naming organization ICANN since 2014.
For one, having a website with one of these new generic top level domains helps it immediately stand out from the crowd. People will take a second look once they realize it’s not another .com site. In fact, a common reaction might be, “Wow, I didn’t know you could have a website that ends in .play!” In a world saturated with web addresses, anything that makes people stop and re-read your website URL is beneficial.
Additionally, gTLDs can potentially make your website’s URL or domain name shorter overall. For example, if you run a site called awesometips.com, you could turn it into awesome.tips with a simple gTLD change. In other words, if your domain name already ends with one of the top level domains listed above, why not ditch the .com altogether?
Finally, there is some speculation that a gTLD might improve a site’s overall SEO performance, but since they are pretty new to the scene, this is still being put to the test.
How Do You Get a New gTLD?
If a gTLD has already been approved by ICANN, then the process for registering a domain name with a new gTLD is pretty simple. You can just go through a third party host to buy the domain, as you would with a .com domain. Often this will cost you a very reasonable price. Expect to shell out only about $25-$50 for existing gTLDs.
But what if you have an idea for an amazing new gTLD that isn’t on the market yet? Well, you’ll need to be part of a very well-funded organization with a clean track record, as the application process for a brand-new gTLD is lengthy and meant for those with deep pockets.
ICANN has set up some very strict rules on who can apply for a new gTLD. When you apply for one, you’re not only applying for the right to use it, but to manage it and distribute it. You’re signing on for a lot of responsibility, so if you’re not the CEO of a company that sells domain names, you might want to keep your dreams in check.
The application process can last anywhere from 9 to 20 months, and only established companies can apply, not individuals. ICANN will run background checks that go back ten years or more just to be sure that the applying company is deemed fit to manage a gTLD.
It costs $180,000 plus $5000 for every gTLD that you want to apply for. That’s the application process fee—and it doesn’t even guarantee acceptance.
So no, the Average Joes among us can’t apply for cool-sounding gTLDs. If you really, really want a unique gTLD for your business, such as .chocolatier, suggest it to your favorite domain seller and then wait around for a couple of years to see if they took your advice. Otherwise, tough luck. You may just have to settle for an existing (but still new) gTLD like .food.
Despite the somewhat depressing application process for brand-new gTLDs, the new offerings are still very exciting and make it more possible than ever to design creative, eye-catching and memorable domains for your business. Breathe some fresh life into your company’s domain with a new gTLD; start your search today!