The gTLD stands for generic top-level domain.
It’s part of the domain name structure as we saw previously (wiki 1.1). It is an Internet domain name extension such as the familiar .com, .net, or .org.
Along with the growth of the Internet, it became desirable to expand the set of initially six generic top-level domains in 1984. Up until today, there are 280 ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) but only 22 “generics” in the domain name system right now. Apart from the evident growth of Internet, the reason for having this amount of gTLD is unknown, but it’s a fact that ICANN have been studying for over a decade an expansion. And in 2011, the expected announcement was made, but only since 12 January 2012 the application process started.
The window for this first round of applications closed on 30 May 2012 and now it’s possible to see the list of applications received. Google applied for .youtube, .docs, .analytics, .drive, .eat, .earth and at least 96 other domains. Others were more humble and obvious. BBC applied for .bbc, BMW for .bmw, Apple for .apple and Samsung for .samsung.
This was the biggest expansion ever made on the Internet domain systems and is already being considered a historical evolution of the web. But don’t think is easy to acquire a new top level domain. Each application costed U$185,000 and when the domain begins to work, U$25,000 must be payed annually. The first top level domains are expected to become available on the first quarter of 2013.
This infographic can make it all more clear, check it out.