World’s first generic internet suffix goes live with more to follow

3 Feb 2014

Hyperlink image via Wikimedia Commons

The Arabic ‘dot shabaka’ suffix has become the world’s first new generic suffix to be used in a domain name since the original 22 which have included .com and .org.

Known as generic top-level domains (gTLD), these suffixes have been rolled out very slowly since 1998 and have been the only options available to people looking to register a website domain, aside from country suffixes like .ie or .de since the last additions in 2004.

As part of the rollout that has started today with ‘dot shabaka’, more than 1,000 new suffixes are expected to come into use, with major corporations expected to make .shop, .food and .news a common sight online.

The rollout is also expected to benefit the billions of internet users who do not use the Latin alphabet in domain names, as native languages will slowly replace them as more and more gTLDs become available.

Better for businesses

The group responsible for overseeing of the domain name rollout is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the president of its global domain’s division, Akram Atallah, sees it as an important step for creating new national business links. “For the first time, internet users across the world will be able to use generic top-level domain names entirely in their native languages. This change will promote closer connections between people, brands and organisations and will in turn provide new routes for businesses to reach their customers.”

An American domain registry company, Donuts, has already announced that on 5 February, the first seven English-language suffixes will become available for companies,, .equipment, .estate, .gallery, .graphics, .lighting and .photography.

Over the coming year, the group expects to roll out 100 more, with contracts signed to provide additional suffixes such as .bike, .clothing and .guru.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic