In May 2016 a new consortium of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) was established – the Verified Top-Level Domains (vTLD) Consortium. The members of this Consortium are different from other gTLDs, in that they verify all registrants prior to permitting use of a domain name (i.e., prior to the domain name resolving on the internet), perform post-verification audits and compliance reviews and may deactivate any domain name not complying with the vTLD’s registration policies.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), founded in 1998, has as its mission to ensure the stable and secure operations of the internet’s unique identifier systems. One of its key responsibilities is introducing and promoting competition in the registration of domain names, while ensuring the security and stability of the domain name system (DNS). Since the emergence of the internet just a small number Top-Level Domains (TLDs) have been available. TLDs are the part of the web address (domain name) to the right of the last dot (e.g., .com, .net or .org.), while Second-Level Domains (SLDs) are the string of characters to the left of the last dot. There are two types of TLDs. Country code TLDs (ccTLDs) are only assigned to countries and territories and have only two characters. Generic TLDs (gTLDs) are at least three characters long. In 2011, ICANN authorized the launch of the new gTLD program with the goal of enhancing competition and consumer choice, and since that time more than 1,200 gTLDs have been added (e.g.,.bank, .insurance, .pharmacy).