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Calling all owners of poker related websites; a new domain suffix, .POKER, is soon to be available. The news came down last week when Afilias, an international domain registry service, announced the upcoming launch of .POKER domains in a global press release.

According to the publication, the sale of the new online poker oriented domain suffix will occur in a triad of phases.Afilias to offer .POKER domains for online poker related websites

The first phase, deemed a “Sunrise” period, will commence on February 5, lasting through March 7, but is open only eligible to trademark holders. “During sunrise, domains will be awarded in a first-come, first-served manner,” reads the press release. “However, eligibility during this period is limited strictly to trademark holders whose marks are registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse.”

A second phase, termed the “Landrush” period, will run from March 10 through April 9, wherein purchasers can request the domains they want to purchase, but the sales won’t be finalized until the Landrush period ends. Purchasers can metaphorically “put a stake in the ground”, applying for any .POKER domains they wish to acquire. However, if any domain is applied for by two or more parties, it will be sold via auction. Certainly this is where Afilias intends to make the bulk of their profit, mostly from competitive online poker affiliates.

Finally, on April 21, 2015, “Open” registration for all unclaimed .POKER domains will commence. At this time, purchasers can register any online poker domain with the new suffix, so long as it is not already taken.

Robert LePlante is the Chief Marketing Officer for Afilias, who offered his comments on the new .POKER suffix. “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,” said LaPlante. “.POKER is an easy-to-remember web extension that will resonate with poker fans, gaming entities, tournament organizers, product manufacturers, news sources, and just about anyone involved in the game of poker.”

A webpage on Afilias dedicated to the upcoming introduction of .POKER domains described the availability of the suffix as an “internet address that ups the ante on web addresses for the Poker world online”. The document goes on to call .POKER “the perfect web address to stack the chips in your favor and set your Poker website apart from the rest!”

As you can tell, it reads much like a car salesman’s pitch, but considering the extremely competitive nature of the online poker business, Afilias is sure to draw a great deal of interest, particularly from the industry’s affiliate community. It’s not so likely that a mass of genuine online poker operators are going to jump on the band wagon, but third party webmasters are always looking for a new angle to edge out the competition, and having a domain name that sorts well in the search engines is always a high priority.

In terms of reliable domain registrars, Afilias is a trusted company that operates on an international scale. The registrar currently manages an estimated 20 million names, making it the second largest domain database in the world. The .POKER suffix is just one of a wide array of new TLDs being launched by Afilias, which has been working to put more focus on “cities, brands, communities and generic terms”.