ICANN’s board members voted on June 19th to expand Top-Level Domains (TLDs), allowing companies to create their own domains. Companies can now have branded domains (.brand instead of .com) or, as CircleID notes, generic terms like .SPORTS or .BANK. Companies will have a 4-month period in 2012 to apply for these new domains. ICANN expects the option to create anywhere from 300 to 1,000 new TLDs within this period, many of which are predicted to be “.brand” domains.
For the companies interested, having a “.brand” domain will mean protecting their brand identity and getting an advantage over their competitors. It also could mean shorter URLs (“product.brand” instead of “brand.com/product”) that consumers can remember more easily.
ICANN first announced their TLD expansion plan in 2008.