You may ask first what a TLD is. In a domain name, like iguanaworldwide.com or google.fr, it’s the last part, after the last dot. This part is often a country code or some generic extension like .com, .net. The US have some more for their use, as .edu or .gov. This is what a TLD, for Top Level Domain, is. The most global part of the domain.
For some time now, the signification of this last part has changed. People use “domain hacks” and use this extension as part of the address, loosing the country information. The first one was del.icio.us, and many other have used this extension as part of their name, like bit.ly, youtu.be, goo.gl.
New TLDs are the next step of this evolution. On 2011, the ICANN, responsible of the attribution of such names, loosened its rules, making place for new global TLDs. These new extensions can now represent anything for online communities. It opens opportunity for new TLDs closer to the website identity, like .photography, .paris, and many, many more. Companies are welcome to submit propositions to be reviewed and may become official.
In the same fashion, it also opened internationalized TLDs, using more than classical english alphabet letters, like the .онлайн (.online).
These new TLDs are a big chance for website to forge a new web identity based on a cool, custom name, and make their domain more explicit about their activity.
The launch process is still slow and access to these new domains can be long and pricey, as they start slowly and are controlled by private companies. But some people who want these new domains won’t stop for so little.
There are still some problems with these domains, as some software is not ready for them and will pose some problems accessing those new domains – but now that these domains are available and start being used, it’s a matter of time before these small bugs are fixed.