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New database aims to mitigate gTLD concerns

04/02/2013 | Internet hosting |

The regulator of the global web address market, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has launched a new database that will let businesses register their brand names to protect their use as generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

This year is seeing a huge shift in the way firms will be able to create web addresses, as the old system of a few limited gTLDs, such as .com and .net, is set to be supplemented by hundreds of new suffixes due to a loosening of regulations. What this means is businesses will be able to choose from almost 2,000 new gTLDs when setting up their website, such as .bet, .web and .news.

However, companies will also be able to register their own brands as gTLDs, which has led to some concerns that third parties will also be able to buy up suffixes that could be used to harm another company's image.

Trade Mark Clearing House
Therefore, ICANN has launched the Trade Mark Clearing House (TMCH), which will keep track of any applications for domain names that use registered brands. This will notify businesses if anyone tries to register a gTLD that matches one of their trademarks.

One consultant on the project, Jonathan Robinson, told the BBC: "For example, if someone applies for the suffix Apple, Apple will be able to see what the website is selling - whether it is a local orchard or someone selling fake Apple computers."

Brand protection
The aim of the database is to give major brands more certainty about the new system in order to mitigate some of the most common concerns raised about the relaxing of gTLD rules. Brands will have to pay between $95 (€74) and $150 per year to register each of their trademark with the TMCH, but this could be a small price to pay for the peace of mind that the names won't be abused in the future by any opportunistic firms.

With the new gTLDs set to be one of the most significant changes to the world wide wide in many years, having such safeguards in place could be crucial to ensures it goes as smoothly as possible.

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