The term “gTLD” stands for “generic top level domain.” This is a particular category of Internet domain names that’s controlled by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, or the IANA. The main way you’ll have encountered this before is through the suffix at the end of a domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is the organization that controls gTLDs specifically. Recently they voted to end restrictions on top level domain names, so members of the general public are now able to apply to get their hands on these top level domain names. Generic top level domains include com, info, net and org domains. The process for how this works can be a bit complicated however.
Top Level Explanation
Generic top level domains just refer to the page with a domain ending in com, info, net, or org. It’s generic because there’s no additional verification that’s required in order to register the domain. For example, if you get domains like biz, name, pro and so on, these are restricted because you have to prove that you are eligible in order to receive one of these domains. It’s also important to note that generic top level domains are now separate from sponsored top level domains like edu, gov, int, and mil, which are only given out to very specific entities, in this case mostly entities controlled by either the government or by a specific education related entity. Basically, these domains have a sponsor that has to approve the creation of each page. General members of the public can’t just create a page with a mil suffix, not without being sponsored by a branch of the military. Pages that have an EDU suffix have to be sponsored by the appropriate education board in countries like the United States, they can’t just create their ages from scratch. This is the primary difference between sponsored or restricted domain names and the generic ones. Anyone can register a generic top level name, and because of this, many companies will put a lot of energy marketing this fact to others.
The “Pre-registration” Gambit
The main place to go for information on new generic top level domains is the official Icann page. But, the fact remains that there are a lot of resellers that will sell these new domains when they come out, but they’ll sell them in something of a shady way. Basically, if you see anything that says “Pre-registration” for gTLD, this is something of a misnomer. It’s mostly just an expression. Really all the reseller is doing is letting you know that if you sign up for it, they will send you a message to let you know when the TLD is available for purchasing. Basically, pre-registration will allow you to say in the loop when it comes to when these domains are available. This is important if you want to make sure that you have one of the first cracks at the top domains. It doesn’t mean that you get any advantage beyond just that, however. You’ll still have to register with the Trademark Clearinghouse or other organization in order to actually register the domain.
This means that it’s important to see the difference between registration, which is a process that actually gives you the domain, and pre-registration which is just a marketing tool that really means simply that you’ll be informed about an opportunity to register a gTLD that you’ve had your eye on for some time. Many of these cheap domain registration opportunities can be very competitive if they are spots people are likely to search, so it’s important to stay on top of it one way or another.