On June 20, 2011 the ICANN board accepted to expand the Top-Level Domains (TLDs) from the 22 currently available extensions to any imaginary domain name such as brands' names like .coke and .bmw, such as generic ones like .bank and .sport or even non latin characters like .أنا to .性别 .
The application window is rather short (from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012) and the opportunity may not happen again in years.
The initial fee will be $185,000, with an annual fee of $25,000.
The goal is obvious for major brands :
• controlling their online brand space,
• being easily reached by online customers.
ICANN asserts that’s consultants will carefully examine applicants’ claims in order to assess projects' relevance and avoid cybersquatting attempts.
According to the one of the world’s most experienced registry services provider, Affilias, application files will have to contain a well-thought-out business plan and demonstrate that the new TLD:
• has the required technical, operational and financial requirements,
• complies with international standards for TLDs,
• is supported with due regards to stability and security.
New TLDs should be aired by mid 2013.