First gTLDs reach General Availability, while .scot likely in summer with a little help from James Bond!

Bond_-_Sean_Connery_-_ProfileThe new gTLD programme is off and running now with the first gTLDs hitting General Availability this week, and the application for .scot may also reach general availability this summer, with a little help from James Bond!

And there are now 122 new gTLDs that have been delegated, with 49 of these in 2014 alone. On 23 October 2013, the first new gTLDs were delegated. This means they were entered into the internet's Root Zone, the authoritative database for the internet. These include the first city gTLD (.wien for Vienna), the first Arabic gTLD (.shabaka - شبكة - Arabic for "web/network"), the first non-Latin gTLDs (one of which was .shabaka) and the first brand (.monash for the Australian university based in Melbourne).

Donuts, the applicant for the most gTLDs - 307, launched the general availability for seven of its gTLDs on 29 January. The lucky seven are .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles, and .ventures. Anyone can register names in these gTLDS on a first come, first-served basis from accredited registrars worldwide.

Donuts intends to roll out launches for new gTLDs on an almost weekly basis in 2014. Next week, on 5 February, they intend to launch the general availability of .camera, .equipment, .estate, .gallery, .graphics, .lighting and .photography.

“Starting this week, new, relevant and specific Internet naming options will be available on a scale never before seen,” Donuts co-founder and CEO Paul Stahura said. “This is a unique opportunity for businesses, brands, organisations, and individuals to find an online identity that speaks precisely to their products, services and interests.”

In addition to this launch, Donuts hit another major milestone when it signed its 105th new gTLD contract with ICANN. Donuts is the first new gTLD registrant to reach that mark and has executed more agreements than any other registry operator.

“We have ambitious goals as part of our commitment to leading the development and innovation of the new gTLD marketplace,” said company co-founder and Executive Vice President Jonathon Nevett. “Reaching 105 gTLDs under contract is a good landmark, but we won’t be satisfied until all of our remaining contracts are completed and all our gTLDs are fully available to the public.”

And one application for the United Kingdom moved a step closer to general availability this week. On 26 January the Dot Scot Registry (DSR) announced it and ICANN have formally agreed terms that allows DSR to operate the new dotSCOT domain. And just in time as the debate as to whether Scotland should become independent and secede from the United Kingdom.

The new gTLD will be used to promote Scotland and its culture to the world. There is also an additional regional application from the UK for .cymru and .wales that aims to promote Welsh identity, language and culture online.

The .scot application received some high profile support, including that of James Bond. Or rather former James Bond, Sir Sean Connery. Connery was one of a number of high profile Scots supporting the campaign to get .scot up and running, which also has the support of First Minister Alex Salmond and the Scottish government. Another high profile supporter is Scottish businessman Sir Tom Farmer.

“.scot image2014 is an exciting year for Scotland, and I’m delighted that this distinct online identity for the nation, and all who take an interest in Scotland, will become available this summer,” said First Minister Alex Salmond.

“The .scot domain is long overdue in this digital age, and the worldwide family of Scots who have been waiting patiently since it was first proposed, will soon be able to have this marvellously expressive domain as their online identity of choice.”

On promoting Scottish culture, Gavin McCutcheon, director of Dot Scot Registry, said “Scotland and Scottishness conveys a whole range of positive connotations, which could not really be portrayed on the web before, but with a .scot domain there will be a new option anyone involved in Scottish business, arts and culture and others to identify themselves more clearly as Scottish to the online world.”

“We aim to make .scot domains as affordable as possible and our not-for-profit structure means we will be able to do so.

“We hope that .scot will become the first choice for the worldwide family of Scots, allowing them to demonstrate for the first time their affinity to Scotland and for Scottish societies and organisations wherever they are in the world to make .scot their home on the internet.”

Written by David Goldstein, Online Researcher and Consultant.