Updated: Monash gets first branded top-level domain

TLDs coming online throughout 2014

Monash University has received the .monash top-level domain name, becoming the first global organisation to be delegated a brand-name TLD by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Monash plans to keep monash.edu as its "authoritative site" and does not plan to change email addresses or decommission any of its existing domains, Monash CIO Ian Tebbett told Computerworld Australia.

"As we build our new .monash web presence over the coming years, and as we learn from experience and user feedback on .monash we expect to rationalise content across the various domains."

Top-level domains are ‘dot word’ domains in the style of .com or .org. They are expected to go live in phases, with 190 non-brand TLDs already live and about 1000 TLDs expected to released this year.

The .monash TLD was switched on over the weekend through Monash’s registrar, ARI Registry Services. Monash got a TLD before more than 600 major global brands who have applied for the domains, including Google, Amazon and Apple.

“The .monash global Top-Level Domain name will allow the University to manage all of its domain names under the global identity of Monash,” Tebbett said in a statement.

“Greater control over our content and domains will strengthen our online presence and better represent Monash as a global institution. Monash University is an early adopter of new technologies and this is an innovation that will ultimately benefit users by allowing us to develop a new customer-focused University web presence.”

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Monash said two .monash websites will go live in the “near future” and “gradually phase .monash into its digital communications.”

Monash will keep its monash.edu domains in addition to the new TLD, it said.

The first TLD released was the شبكة. top-level domain, which is pronounced .shabaka and translates to .web. Applications for addresses in Arabic and other non-Latin scripts comprised the first group of gTLDs to be approved by ICANN.

Non-branded TLDs including .menu and .kiwi are also live on the Internet.

ICANN decided the order in which it reviews applications at the end of 2012. Besides Monash, the state of Victoria (.Melbourne), iSelect (.select) and Commonwealth Bank (.cba) drew some of the highest slots among Australian organisations.

However, the exact order of when the brand domains go live depends on the applicants allocating necessary resources to the task, according to ARI Registry Services CEO Adrian Kinderis.

“It was a slow start,” Kinderis said. “People have had the contracts for a while now [but] have been putting them through their legal departments and so on.”

Kinderis predicted the launch of the first few brand TLDs like Monash will encourage other applicants to mobilise and get going on their own domains.

Most brands will likely keep their existing domains even after they add branded TLDs, Kinderis said. Initially, many will use the TLDs to forward to their existing websites, “but eventually you’ll look to have stand-alone components to this new TLD.”

A number of other Australian universities are expected to soon join Monash in having TLDs.

“We’ll soon see the likes of .bond, .latrobe and .rmit join .monash when they delegate in the coming months,” said Kinderis. “Open Universities Australia will round out the mix with their applications for .courses and .study.”

The AFL, iiNet, Austrlia Post and several major Australian banks are also expected to soon go live with TLDs, he said.

In addition, the cities of Melbourne and Sydney are racing to be first to go live with their TLDs, .melbourne and .sydney, he said.

“Whoever gets it is going to be able to … say we were first.”

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