ICANN to Allow Custom “dot” Suffixes…For a Price

The nonprofit organization in charge of Internet addresses (ICANN — Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has announced plans to allow custom suffixes named after brands, hobbies, political causes, and just about anything else.

That is, for those who can afford it. Right now, a web address ending in .com or .org runs less than $10 a year. It’s a bargain, especially compared with what the new novelty addresses in the generic top-level domain names (gTLD) category will cost: $185,000 to apply and $25,000 a year to maintain.

Before you whip out your checkbook and pony up for your own “.YourLastName,” there’s more. The application for a new domain names runs 250 pages long. If neither the price tag nor the tedium of completing the application doesn’t give you pause, then go for it.

These address options will create new marketing opportunities for companies large enough to foot the bill and willing to do the paperwork. And, there may be opportunities for the rest of us. It will be possible for organizations to purchase names such as .florist, .bank, and .sport, and then sell licenses for their use to smaller businesses.

For financial institutions, I can’t help but think there might be an advantage in sending customers to .YourBankName instead of.com. Perhaps not from a search standpoint, but from a security assurance and, to a lesser extent, marketing standpoint, it could be. It would be difficult (ideally, even “impossible”) for phishers to send email from, say, .zionsbank.

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