January 12th 2012 marked a new milestone in Internet domain services as ICANN opened the door for branded top-level domains to be registered. The idea behind the new drive is to offer branded domains aimed specifically at individual companies or their products. ICANN expects between 500 and 1,000 of the new branded domains to be registered in the near future, and only serious competitors are likely to be interested. The primary hindrance will be the cost: USD $185,000 per extension.
The Toronto Star reports that the new offerings should have little effect on the .ca domain extension that currently stands as the preference for businesses that need to identify themselves with a Canadian presence. Currently .ca is the strongest domain extension in Canada, bar none. It’s been suggested that domains extensions like .toronto or .montreal may be in the works as the result of the ICANN offering, but their expense would make them prohibitive for most Canadian businesses.
According to the Toronto Star there are currently 274 domain extensions in use across the web. Of that number, more than 250 are country designations like .ca, .us, and .uk. There’s no reason to believe such extensions will suffer any damage from the new branded domains extensions. According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s David Fowler, the most notable affect the branded domains will have on the Canadian web industry will be in forcing greater competition among domain registrars.