A TLD, or Top Level Domain, is the end part of a web address like .com, .net or .uk. Technically this is called a hostname. It is entered into the root zone of the Domain Name System (DNS) and this points to the place on the internet where the corresponding second level domains can be found and used for resolving websites and email. It should be noted that Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .COM or .NET are different from the country specific ccTLDs such as .UK, .DE and .US. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is contracted by the US government to control and maintain the DNS. In 2008 they announced their intention to liberalise the top level of the DNS to theoretically allow anyone to apply for the Generic Top Level Domain of their choice. This plan was finally approved at the ICANN meeting in Singapore in June 2011.
ICANN began accepting applications on 12 January 2012 and the official ICANN application fee was $185,000 per string. On 13 June 2012, ICANN revealed that it had received 1,930 applications for a total of 1,409 unique strings. The new registries began to go live from October 2013. Hundreds of new gTLDs have been delegated so far, including terms as varied as .LONDON, .GURU and .NINJA.