The Race for Custom Top-Level Domain Names

Get ready for URLs ending in '.whateveryouwant.'

There are about 20 variations on the standard ".com" domain name available today, outside of ‘.country’ suffixes (.eu, .au, .de, etc.).These include ".org," ".net," ".gov," and ".tv," but none are particularly exciting. Just imagine how ".whateveryouwant" could jazz up the search bar. I could, for example, register "nina.lincoff" as opposed to ""!

A URL ending in ".whatever" seems particularly '90s, but is actually a pretty advanced concept. In June, the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved the creation unique domain names beyond the standard ".com" and ".net"—for an application fee of $185,000 and an annual fee of $25,000. Turns out that unless I win the lottery, I can't actually register a unique domain.

The Interactive Advertising Board, a non-profit "club" of 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for 86 percent of the revenue from online ad sales, came out earlier this year against ".whateveryouwant" domains. If domain name possibilities are endless, the IAB argued, then so are the opportunities for internet squatters and business rivals to harm a brand by buying out all domain names and keeping them from use.

So ".whateveryouwant" domain names may be further down the road than one would hope. As with many things in this great country, there is a bit of legislation and protocol to be worked out before a free-for-all can happen. For the time being, you’ll just have to make do with a ".com."