On 13 June of this year, ICANN announced the names of the first of the 1,400 new top-level domains. Among these names, two new French ones have already been identified: .breizh and .paris, which should arrive in early 2014.

With the launch of these numerous top-level domains, any defensive strategy to reserve domain names must be revised. For technical and cost reasons, the right questions must be asked in selecting the most relevant top-level domains.


  • Understanding the new top-level domains

The first step is to familiarise yourself with the new top-level domains and their status by clicking on in order to determine which ones would add real value compared to your existing domain names.


Among these 1,400 new top-level domains, you must choose the ones that are the most relevant in terms of your business activities and target population.

In concrete terms, a number of top-level domains referred to as "open" will be available, such as geographical ones (e.g. .paris), those reserved for a community (e.g. .maori) and those related to a specific business sector (e.g. .banque).


  • Audits

We also recommend you conduct audits:

  • of your trade marks: Which of your trade marks are attractive? Is there any added value in associating a trade mark with a new top-level domain? Are they affected by cypersquatting?
  • of your domain names: What is your current traffic? What is your budget/visit frequency ratio? What is your current referencing ranking?
  • of your competition: Have they applied for registrations of new domain names and, if so, for what type of top-level domain?


  • Prepare for the reservation criteria

While the reservation criteria are not yet known, there are some you can anticipate. Geographical top-level domains will most likely require a sufficient tie to the zone targeted by the geographic area in question, and those related to a business sector will very likely require affiliation to the relevant sector.


  • How to protect yourself

If you own an .fr domain name, please note that you have no priority right to use this domain name with a new top-level domain.


In order to reduce the risk of your domain name being reserved by a third party, registration of your trade mark in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will give you a priority right at the time of the effective launch of the new top-level domains during the period referred to as the "Sunrise" period.


In addition, or if you do not register in the TMCH, by monitoring the domain names, you will be able to take action rapidly and use the new tools to be put in place by ICANN, the details of which will be announced shortly.


LAVOIX offers its support services at every stage, along with a pre-reservation service that will allow you to keep abreast of the dates on which the top-level domains you are interested in will become available, as well as registration conditions.


Béatrice DAUBIN

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