ICANN, the organization that manages the technical aspect of the DNS, among other things, has opened up a 45-day public comment period on the process for requesting a new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) such as .com, .net, and .gov. The comment period is the next step along the path of adding more gTLD's to DNS. If you are involved with DNS, or work for a global or national brand, you want to pay attention to these developments.There are 21 gTLD's and many more country code TLD's (ccTLD) such as .uk for the United Kingdom and .fr for France. Due to the rapid growth of the Internet, the useable namespace is being gobbled up by legitimate companies using their name as a domain name as well as by "domainers," individuals and companies that register and then sell domain names. The intent of opening up the gTLDs is to allow more top-level domains that have meaning. For example, Acme Enterprises global conglomerate might register .acme as a TLD, and then it can create its own DNS zone based on countries, companies, or product lines. Alternatively, the .sports TLD could be divvied up into baseball.sports, redsox.baseball.sports, yankees.baseball.sports, etc.
The new gTLD's promise a great deal of diversity, but there is a downside for trademark owners around the world. With the 21 gTLD's, enforcing a trademark was more or less contained. However, what happens if a group of people from South America want to snatch up .amazon to promote their rain forest or the International Bongo Manufacturers want to register .ibm? The guidebook defines the policies that address those concerns, and many more.
Now is the time to register any comments or concerns so that ICANN can address them before the policy is put in place.