Until now .com has been king when it comes to domain names. ICANN is changing that by unleashing thousands of new top level domain suffixes upon the world.
A couple thousand applications have been submitted for new TLDs (PDF file)…each with a $185,000 application fee.
Of course, there’s competition. For example, Amazon, Google, and five other companies look like they’re heading to an auction to see who gets .music
Making some Internet lawyers happy, there’s going to be intellectual property fights clogging the courts in addition to mucking up the search engine results. Two drug companies are fighting over .merck with some interesting trademark implications if they don’t come to an agreement. Chances are the owner of the existing ClassicSpa.com isn’t going to be happy about a new Classic.spa
Will these new TLDs be worth anything for search engine purposes? Google and Microsoft (Bing) seem to think so. Google appears to have applied for more than 100 of these TLDs. Microsoft wants 11 of them.
Barring a lawsuit preventing it, or a change of plans by ICANN, you should start seeing these new domain suffixes online by 2Q2013.