SMX West Legal: ICANN Accepts New Generic Top-Level Domains (2:53)

Posted on by Abby Johnson |

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Although it is a very important area, it seems that many times, we overlook the legal side of search. To rectify that error, Sarah Bird of SEOmoz, catches us up by talking to Clarke Walton of Walton Law Firm about several hot legal issues and how they affect search marketers. Specifically, Clarke discusses the latest news from ICANN pertaining to the new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) program.

There are currently 21 gTLDs such as .com, .net, .org, but ICANN will expand upon that number later on this year. According to ICANN, “choice and competition are key to the continued success and reach of the global network.” ICANN will be accepting applications for gTLDs in Q4 of this year. Possible new gTLDs include: .hotel, .law, .facebook, .ebay, etc.

The application fee for obtaining a new gTLD is $185,000. Clarke says there will be additional fees if the application moves forward. Annual fees could be greater than $75,000 or 5 percent of your generated revenue. Clarke’s suggested ballpark of bankroll needed for this venture is $1 million.

So how does all this affect search marketers? Speaking on his personal belief, Clarke says it is a possibility that search engines will include these new gTLDs into their algorithms. For example, if .law is only available to licensed attorneys, then Google might find it to be a more relevant search result instead of a random .com domain.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a part of the new gTLD program, be sure to look into ICANN’s gTLD application guidebook. Also, stay tuned to WebProNews Videos for a look at several case studies from Clarke Walton and Sarah Bird.

Posted in: Clarke Walton, Legal, News and Events, Sarah Bird, SEO, SMX West 2009
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