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New Top Level Domain Names for Web Addresses

Published on January 14, 2011
Tags: Web Hosting

If you’ve ever used the internet in any capacity at all, you’re more than likely to be aware of top level domain names. These are basically what allow you to view web sites and, for a long time, they’ve been relatively static. You’ll be aware, of course, of the most common domain suffixes such as .com, .co.uk, .gov, .net and .ac.uk. Most of the suffixes currently refer to countries or types of organisation (such as .org for nonprofits).

The issue here is that the current domains are getting crowded due to the massive expansion of the internet - both the number of websites that exist and the number of people who use the web, whether it’s for business or pleasure. This overcrowding of existing domain names makes it harder for web design companies and others to make the most of their search engine optimisation strategies, as all the best web addresses get snapped up really quickly.

As part of measures to combat this overcrowding, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is now beginning to introduce brand new top level domain names. ICANN is a private sector, not for profit organisation set up in 1998 that acts as an internet enabler, helping to keep the web free and democratic as well as maintaining those all important domain names.

The new top level domains are designed to allow web designers and businesses to include more specific key words in their web addresses. For example, the new web address for Hilton Hotels could be www.hilton.hotel. This allows web designers to be more specific and include key search terms within the web address. This is important, as search engines are currently being redeveloped to prioritise the new domain names, so, following the above example, hotel websites ending in .hotel would take precedence over those ending in .com.

Similarly, if someone types in a Google search for ‘New York City’, the first results to show up would be those ending in the new, specific top level domain of .nyc. The aim here is to make the search results more relevant as well as making the addresses more specific. It means that website addresses will fit more closely with common search terms in their related field and will thus yield more results, as well as benefiting the individual web users who will enjoy better tailored search results. It will also make it easier for smaller websites and businesses to stand out through specialised web addresses in an environment where they might otherwise be overlooked by search engine algorithms.

You can read more about the new top level domains from ICANN here.

By Chelsey Evans

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