The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has begun to offer brand-specific TLDs for the first time, allowing companies to buy up website addresses ending in .pepsi or .armani instead of .com or .co.uk. The new domains cost, in some cases, around $185,000, and some critics have warned that they undermine the architecture of the internet.
Around 1,500 companies are expected to make initial applications for the new genetic TLDs (gTLDs), but some of these companies are themselves concerned at the new system. As was the case with the recent launch of .xxx domains, the change is viewed by some as little more than a resource-drain. For example, if a brand owns the .com version of its name, it might need to buy up the .xxx and gTLD in order to protect its brand.
It remains to be seen how companies will use the new gTLDs but the suspicion is that many will simply redirect to their existing websites. After all, running two full brand websites would be resource-intensive and would arguably just add a layer of confusion to a brand’s online identity.