Experts Predict 100-1500 New TLDs by 2011-2012

Panel predicts number and timing of new TLDs.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to moderate a panel on new top level domain names during Domainer Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Michael Ward did a great job assembling a panel of people from all sides of the new top level domain spectrum:

Mike Rodenbaugh – attorney
Michael Berkens – domainer
Jeffrey Eckhaus – Demand Media
Ken Hansen -Neustar
John Berryhill – attorney

There were certainly some disagreements amongst that group, especially when it came to trademarks, registry/registrar separation, and the point of new TLDs.

I asked each panelist how many unique new TLDs will be applied for in the first round. By “unique”, I mean that if 5 people apply for .money, that’s one unique TLD.

The results were widespread, with 100 on the low end and 1500 on the high end. Four of the five panelists predicted 400 or fewer applications.

How soon can we expect new TLDs? The earliest guess for when a new TLD will be available to the general public was April 2011; the latest was September 2012.


  1. ojohn says

    I wonder if there is going to be a limit on the number of TLDs that can be applied for by any one entity.

    In my opinion there are going to be two types of applicants, those who are going to apply for a TLD that is directly related to their field of operation and those who are going to go after the most popular TLDs that have the highest ROI. In the first category the number of applicants per TLD will probably be limited to the few who have a direct and legitimate interest in that TLD, and the total number of unique TLDs that are going to be applied for in this category will most likely mirror the number of the who’s who in the global arena, anybody who is somebody in the world will probably want to own their own TLD and this includes a lot of the famous companies, organizations, and City and geo Governments around the globe (I estimate this number to be in the range of 3 to 5k). The second category are mostly those who are after the highest ROI and will probably take a chance applying for as many of the generic TLDs that they can afford to. Some of the most popular generic TLDs might end up with having over 20 different applicants. This will be more like a high stakes casino game with a minimum bid of $50k per hand ( per TLD ), I am sure that there are a lot of big corporations and entities with multimillion dollar budgets that can afford to play this game, but I personally am of the opinion that the most popular of the generic TLDs should not be sold, those should be kept and operated as directories by a neutral and not for profit organization for the benefit of all the people. Once these generic TLDs are given out based on some unfair trademarks it will be too late to do anything about it and they will all end up in the hands of a few to enrich the most wealthy and connected amongst us just like what happened when they were dividing up land and mineral rights in the past centuries. Nevertheless if there are no changes in the policy and all the top generic TLDs are allowed to be gobbled up by private entities for their own enrichment then there might be another 3 to 5k unique TLDs for this category which mirrors the number of the most popular generic keywords.

    Ironically delaying the new TLDs is going to result in even more applicants hence increasing the number of the unique TLDs in the first round. The more the new TLDs are delayed the more people will have the opportunity to find out about this program specially after ICANN starts their World wide new TLD introduction campaign.

    (Just my opinion)

  2. says

    I would be interested in hearing how a certain member from the panel came up with 1500 new gTLDs by 2012? Based on popular latin TLDs strings I can account for roughly 100-150, that would leave 1400 to IDNs, city names, and corporation TLDs. Maybe if each of the Global 1000 companies applied for gTLDs we could see this number.

  3. Jade says

    Experts?….LOL….I was there at DMG and heard them.

    It sounded more like opportunists willing to do anything at the expense of the public.

    .com is still a wasteland…..who in their right mind thinks another extension is going to explode in registrations, developement, and ultimately growth?

    These guys are gluttonous money-grubbers only thinking about their retirement yachts.

  4. says

    Andrew — Back in Tampa and catching up on several items. Great job on moderating the new TLD session at Domainer Mardi Gras. The feedback has been tremendous. Based on several blog postings as a follow up to this panel, both on your site and others, IMO it accomplished my objectives.

    Finally, we had a meaningful discussion, outside of the ICANN process, on new TLDs. Kudos to the experts on the panel for agreeing to come together and participate in the session. They certainly didn’t have to and easily could have declined the invitation. But they sat on the panel, discussed, debated and brought more awareness to the topic of new TLDs.

    Thank you Jeff Eckhaus, Mike Rodenbaugh, Michael Berkens. Ken Hansen, John Berryhill and Andrew Allemann for making it happen.

    Mission accomplished.


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