New gTLD domain names rolled out: First websites ending in شبكة. - meaning web in Arabic - launched

4 February 2014

More than 1,000 new generic top-level domain (gTLD) name suffixes are being rolled out with the first websites ending in شبكة. - pronounced dot shabaka, and meaning web in Arabic - going live this week as part of the on-going project. 

Other non-Latin script gTLD domain names expected to launch this week include the Mandarin for game 游戏; сайт which is Russian for site; and online in the same language: онлайн. 

The شبكة. web suffix in Arabic is being run by the DotShabaka Registry, a Dubai-based, U.A.E. business that says it already has numerous companies using the ending following its launch this week. The registry insists it will help to make the internet more polyglot and multilingual; opening it up to Arabic speakers that perhaps cannot navigate search engines in English to find specific websites.  

News Analysis: gTLD Domain Name Expansion
Historically, there have only been 22 gTLDs, including .com, .org, .edu, .gov and .net, in addition to country code endings added later on such.uk or the .mobi ending, but thousands and thousands of new domain names are now being added to the web by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), which is rolling out the expansion.  

The ‘non-profit’ Icann organisation oversees the process and charges the $185,000 (£113,200) application fee for a new suffix. It should only cost £10-30 to license a site under your company name, paying someone such as the DotShabaka Registry for one of its new Arabic web endings - for example, bobsguide.web - but critics say that the cost multiplied across so many different areas is expensive, and could be prohibitive when admin costs are factored in.  

Icann says, however, that the existing system has become too crowded and needs expansion, while rightly adding that more non-Latin script domain names should be catered for online. It further claims that new suffixes, such as .shop, can bring benefits to some organisations.  

Whether anyone actually goes direct to a website anymore, however, must be debatable. Most people nowadays go to a search engine instead of trying to remember a corporate’s precise domain name, lessening its marketing value alone and the justification for taking out more and more corporate suffixes. It will be interesting to see the uptake numbers and perhaps only the top, top gTLDs, such as .com, will be licensed in the majority of cases, excepting where language is a factor.    

 

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