Online poker has grown exponentially over the past 10 years and there are thousands of poker websies and affiliates promoting various forms of online poker.
Analysts predict that the online poker market will continue to grow as countries from across the world take steps to legalize online poker.
In order to copy with the growing demand for online poker, Afilias plans to launch a new .poker domain in order to give online poker a generic top-level domain (TLD).
Afilias is the second largest internet name registry in the world. The company has decided to roll out the TLD in 3 phases and the first sunrise phase will take between the 5th of Feb and 7th of March.
The sunrise phase lasts for a 30 day period and during this time eligible gambling companies and trademark holders will get first preference to register .poker addresses. Afilias believes that leading poker providers like PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, 888poker and Party Poker will make use of this period to purchase their .poker domains.
After the sunrise period, a landrush period will take place between the 9th March and the 9th of April where the public will have the option of applying for specific .poker domains that are available. If two applications are sent in for the same .poker domain then there will be an auction and the .poker domain will be registered to the highest bidder. The 3rd and final stage of the process will be a period of open registration that will begin on the 21st of April.
Speaking about the new .poker TLD rollout, Roland LaPlante, who is the chief marketing officer for Afilias said
Poker is one of the most popular games on the Internet today, and now there is a dedicated space on the Internet for all aspects of poker.
Afilias plans to market the .poker websites to gambling companies and affiliates in an effort to give their website a unique domain and stand out from the rest. While the idea does come across as appealing, only time will tell how the poker industry responds to the new TLD offer.
Some members of the poker community have taken to popular poker forums and blogs to express their views on the new TLD. They believe that the new .poker domain is not necessary and will not make much of a difference.