The most significant development in the Internet space in recent years is the generic top-level domain (gTLD) expansion. Historically, the focal point of the domain name for brand owners has been the second level domain, the commonly customizable portion to the left of the “dot”. A TLD is what appears to the right of the “dot” in a domain name (i.e., .COM, .ORG, .GOV), and to date, those seeking to register domain names have had to choose from a very limited selection. However, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) embarked on an aggressive plan to expand the Internet from just 23 gTLDs to more than 1,000 gTLDs, culminating in an application process in 2012 that allowed any organization with an interest in running a registry to apply for a new gTLD, provided it could meet the designated technical, operational and financial criteria. After this lengthy application and vetting process, ICANN has now delegated the first 80 or so gTLDs, with additional gTLDs launching every week. Over the next couple of years ICANN expects to delegate nearly 1,400 new gTLDs – including .CLOTHING, .SHOES, .FASHION, .LUXURY, and .STYLE.
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