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Can’t find a good domain name? Help is on the way.

Schlackman Cuba Photography

For those of you looking for a new domain name, you probably have found that most of your “insertcoolname.com” ideas were already taken.  You find yourself forced to go with a .net or a .co, instead of the more lucrative .com name.  That wouldn’t seem so bad if most of the domains actually had a useful site attached to them.  Instead, they are just being held by cybersquatters; companies that buy up all the good domain names so they can sell them to you at exorbitant prices. Well, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the private sector, non-profit corporation that oversees generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) like .com and .net, is trying to release domains from the cybersquatter’s grip

Over 1000 new domains will be launching in the next two years to fight the cybersquatters.

Over the next two years, ICANN is planning on adding over 1000 gTLDs into the market, many directed at specific products or industries.  Last week, seven new gTLDs were released – .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles, and .ventures – to the general public.  The next set of TLD’s should become available for the general public in the next few days. They are – .camera, .equipment, .estate, .gallery, .graphics, .lighting, and .photography. (.photo is coming on April 4, 2014). Expect a handful of new top-level domains to enter free registration every week for most of 2014.

ICANN is trying to make sure these domains are available for those who need them, and out of the hands of the cybersquatters.  Once a name is approved, release will generally have three phases:

  • Sunrise, a 60-day period where trademark owners worldwide can stake a claim before registration opens to the public;
  • Pre-registation or Landrush period, where applicants can pre-register names, most likely for a hefty fee;
  • Open registration, where anyone can register a new domain.

Pricing for these domains is a bit wacky right now.  I wanted to buy domains for two of my photography projects; Cuba.photography and Istanbul.photography (which you can see at my site Fotofilosophy.com).  At GoDaddy, Cuba.photography was shown as taken and the preregistration price for Istanbul.photography was $124. On NewgTLDsite.com, Cuba.photography was available at a preregister price of $34 but Istanbul.photography was $114. How those pricing decisions are made is baffling. I was unable to make sense of it, so you may want to try different domain procurement sites if process are high or you have trouble registering.

Right now these new gTLDs may not rise to the levels of .com, having the same stature as a .net or .biz, which are considered .com’s the lesser step child. But once thousands hit the market, this may change. Still, who knows how the cybersquatters will react, so it may pay to see if there is anything you may want to use and grab them while they are still available. If you want to add your names to a watchlist, click here.

Thanks for reading.  Please post this to your social media so we can ensure the art world knows about these new domains.


About the author

Steve Schlackman

As a photographer and Patent Attorney with a background in marketing, Steve has a unique perspective on art and law. Should you have any questions on Intellectual Property contact him at [email protected] His photography can be seen online at Fotofilosophy.com or on display at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City.


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