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Learn about dot Niche TLDs that reflect your community or new idea

ICANN’s first New gTLD application window recently closed. Now is the time to start preparing your unique community or niche for the next ICANN gTLD application window. ICANN has not yet announced when the new application window will open, but we will keep you posted when they do.

In the meantime, start educating yourself on new gTLDs. Investing in a new gTLD is a strategic decision. Now is the time for you to monitor and research how unique communities and niches are deploying their new gTLDs to stimulate your own new gTLD imagination.

How will you and your unique community or niche use your new gTLD?

dot niche new gTLDs

Navigate below to learn more about applying for new gTLD that reflects your community or new idea. If you are ready to begin a conversation with our New gTLD Team, start here.

Finding Your (dot) Niche TLD

In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) unleashed a new era of competition designed to expand the possibilities of Internet domain names and create a more accessible, secure and innovative Internet. 

Now you can unite your unique community -- your “niche” – around a Top-Level Domain. For a real-life example, the sustainability community is coming together to create a “.eco” domain. In that same way, perhaps you represent the community of all medical health providers around the world and want to unite around “.health”. Maybe sports enthusiast would like to use an email address that ends with “.nfl” or “.fifa” or – more broadly -- “.tennis” or “.cricket”?

In 2012, ICANN – for the first time -- allowed unique niches and communities to apply for a dot Niche Top-level Domain (TLD). A TLD is the suffix that is “right of the last dot” in an Internet address, as in the “gov” in www.phila.gov or “org” in www.ICANN.org or “info” in www.Afilias.info. This means, for example, independent insurance operators can unite and apply for “.insurer” or caterers for “.catering” or professional athletes for “.athlete” and so on.

But a dot Niche isn’t limited to communities. Brands like Pepsi and Coca-Cola could consider applying for “.soda” and “.drink” or Nike and Reebok could consider “.shoes” or “.run”. The possibilities are as infinite as languages are. For example, Nike and Reebok could also consider “.schuh” (“shoe” in German) or “.competição” (“competition” in Portuguese).

So if you represent a unique community or niche, you have come to the best place on the Web to learn about dot Niche TLDs and to learn the answers to such questions as:

  • How does this change in the Internet’s domain naming system (DNS) affect my community or niche group?

  • What are the costs to acquire and operate a new TLD? 

  • How do I determine if investing in a new dot Niche TLD makes sense?

As the industry’s most experienced new TLD registry provider, we want to help you make the right decision for your niche. After reviewing our information on dot Niche domains, let’s discuss how Afilias’ second-to-none expertise in new TLDs can help you apply for, launch and operate your new TLD when the next application window opens.

Any dot Niche is possible. All you need is the imagination to apply.

Learn more about dot Niche TLDs and what to expect. Simply contact us to schedule a no-obligation, exploratory conversation.

It’s Crunch Time

Be warned: The process to apply for an ICANN new dot Niche domain can take time … and the time to apply is short. No applications will be accepted after April 20, 2012. Once that application window closes, it may not reopen for years or -- even a decade.

It takes time to build a team, develop a plan, review and select the most qualified Registry Services Partner to help complete the rigorous ICANN new TLD application process. The application is complex and costs USD$185,000. That’s not to discourage you; it’s to help you set realistic timelines for building your team and ensuring your budget. For perspective, $185,000 is less than the cost of running one full-page ad in the New York Times just one time.

Learn more about dot Niche TLDs and what to expect. Simply contact us to schedule a no-obligation, exploratory conversation.

Benefits of Your New dot Niche TLD

The benefits of owning and operating a new dot Niche TLD are many: a shorter and more memorable domain name, complete control over who uses your dot Niche name and how they use it, and new revenue-generating possibilities that support your community’s unique initiatives.

Your new dot Niche TLD will give you the power to create new second-level domain names – for example, “www.majorevent.tennis” or www.JohnJones.med. In these examples, the second level domain is what’s “left of the dot” like “majorevent” and “JohnJones.”

You will be able to set policies to determine who can use your second-level domain names, and whether you charge money to your niche or community members to use second-level domain names and email addresses. Your new dot Niche TLD can create multiple opportunities for your niche – whether that’s a social community, a business, an organization or an association.

Looking ahead, your new dot Niche TLD can become an engine of innovation that will enable your organization to grow and thrive online as well as in the “real world” because old and new community members will be able to interact in new, never-before-possible ways.

Learn more about dot Niche TLDs and what to expect. Simply contact us to schedule a no-obligation, exploratory conversation.


Who Has a New dot Niche TLD?

As an example, the sustainability community is coming together to create a “.eco” domain to ensure the integrity, transparency and accessibility of ecological information. Specifically, the groups behind .eco are positioning the domain so it can become a badge of commitment to sustainability; groups who register a .eco domain name will need to make a statement about their commitment to sustainability, and show how they are acting on that commitment by being transparent about their impact. 

Similarly coming together are groups with common interests like .hotel, .wine, .fam(“family”), .rugby, .gay, .poker and .music. This is just a small sampling of the many publicly announced niches and communities. Whatever brings people together into a niche or community is “fair game”; the only limits are your imagination.

Learn more about dot Niche TLDs and what to expect. Simply contact us to schedule a no-obligation, exploratory conversation.

When is a dot Niche also a Community?

One significant decision potential dot Niche applicants need to make is whether to submit their TLD as a "community" initiative.

The major advantage of applying for a “community based” TLD is the ability to potentially trump competing applications in cases where ICANN receives more than one application for the same domain string (for example, competing applications for “.doc”.).

According to the ICANN Applicant Guidebook, community applications strong enough to pass a rigorous Community Priority Evaluation process will not have to compete in potentially costly auctions against non-community applications for the same string. For example, a community-backed initiative for ".horses" could beat a better-financed application for the same TLD applied for as a generic/non-community string -- without having to bid against the non-community applicant at auction -- if it can show the requisite level of community support.

Any applicant can self-designate their application as "community-based". However, to avoid gaming the system, ICANN has created a strict scorecard for evaluating the degree of community backing an application has. To win a Community Priority Evaluation, applicants have to score at least 14 points out of a possible 16, and two of those points rely upon the absence of objections from third parties in the community. In practice, to prevail in a Community Priority Evaluation, the applicant will have to demonstrate strong support from their chosen community.

Community applications are well -suited to TLDs representing well-established, strictly controlled membership organizations. Communities must be "clearly delineated, organized, and pre-existing" and of "considerable size and longevity" to score maximum points. To rank highly, the applied-for string also has to clearly and uniquely identify the community. To use the ".horses" example, a poorly defined community of "people who like horses" may not score as highly as an application from a decades-old international membership-based equestrian association. Equally, the latter applicant would lose points unless it was already commonly known by the name "Horses" and there were no other organizations going by the same name.

Should You Apply for a dot Niche TLD?

Imagine differentiating your unique “niche” or community. Your new dot Niche TLD can act as a platform to create new services and revenues for your niche or community members. Your new dot Niche TLD platform is only limited by your imagination.

Given the costs, investing in a new dot Niche TLD is a strategic investment in the future of your organization or community.

ICANN may not open the application window again for years. The good news is that Afilias is uniquely positioned to help you apply for, launch and operate your dot Niche TLD when the next window opens. Given our years of experience, we have developed a rapid and rigorous approach and we have proven technology to improve your chances of success when applying for your new TLD.

Learn more about dot Niche TLDs and what to expect. Simply contact us to schedule a no-obligation, exploratory conversation.

Requirements to Apply for Your New dot Niche TLD

The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the entity that decides how you apply for your new domain and monitors how you administer it once you receive permission for it.

But while interpreting ICANN's rules and regulations will be the major part of the battle, you may find that developing a comprehensive understanding of your chosen community, looking at the international dimension, identifying the organizations and user groups that may have an interest in your chosen string, then reaching out to them to build bridges, will also be an important part of your new TLD strategy.

All of this is outlined in the free ICANN Applicant Guidebook. After downloading the guidebook, you will want to pay special attention to section 1.2.3, “Community-Based Designation.” This section contains all the information – including documentation needed – to submit a successful dot Niche application.

You will also want to pay especially close attention to questions 23-44 and “Module 5: Transition to Delegation.” These required detailed and highly specialized technical expertise. And this is where working with an established provider like Afilias can help ensure your application meets these stringent requirements. Afilias has supported more approved new TLD applications than any other provider. Afilias understands how to help you succeed with your application and how to help you best take advantage of your domain -- in accordance with your community’s objectives -- once it’s approved.

Learn more about dot Niche TLDs and what to expect. Simply contact us to schedule a no-obligation, exploratory conversation.

Investigate before You Invest: the Video

Watch our video on the opportunities created by dot Niche TLDs. This short video illustrates the many benefits and new approaches that communities and organizations can gain with a dot Niche TLD.