The new .asia top level domain is open for business today. Trademark holding companies and governments will get a head start to register and earmark desired domains, since public registration will not open until February 2008.
The .asia TLD marks the second regional domain to open up for registration - the first was the .eu TLD, which was opened for residents of the European Union back in 2006. Future TLDs for other regions such as Africa and Latin America are in the works, though it is by no means a quick process. The .asia domain has been on the books since 2000, after all!
One of the key differences between the .asia domain's registration and the previous .eu registration is that the DotAsia Registry will use an auction scheme. Domains that are sought after by more then one organisation will be won by the highest bidder, rather than any specific trademark status, age, or brand size.
Regional TLDs are a controversial subject and this one is no exception. Many people argue that companies will be forced to register extra domains to try and keep cybersquatters and scammers from taking up similar URLs
, which could increase phishing or just plain internet clutter dramatically.
"There is going to be an ever-increasing number of suffixes
," said Lesley Cowley, chief executive of Nominet. "Companies need to decide whether they are going to protect their registered marks in each and every one
Another point to note is the fact that, even with many different written languages being used throughout Asia, registration will only be made available in the Latin alphabet. ICANN is beginning trials for addresses written in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Japanese, Tamil, Hindi, Greek, Korean, and Russian but those won't be available for quite some time.
Are new TLD a good idea or do they just add confusion when it comes to remembering website URLs? Tell us what you think over in the forums