ICANN set to release list of new domain proposals


President and chief executive officer of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Rod Beckstrom takes part in the ICANN meeting in Singapore on June 20, 2011. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
June 12, 2012

The organization charged with regulating what goes to the right of the dot in Web addresses is moving ahead with its initiative to drastically change the Internet.

Soon, we’ll get to see who, exactly, applied for brand new domain names, after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) releases its applications list on Wednesday.

Some companies, such as Google, have already announced some of their plans. The search giant said that it has applied for .google, .youtube and .lol domain names, The Washington Post reported. The company said that those domains “have interesting and creative potential.”

The new initiative is, however, controversial. Some copyright holders believe that the expansion could hurt their brands because they worry they’ll have to buy up several Web addresses in several domains for defensive purpose. They argue that, say, a company with a recognizable brand that sells shoes would have to buy “.brand” and “brand.shoes” or “brand.walking,” for example, to make sure that it’s well protected.

The application fee for a new Web suffix is $185,000, and each domain will cost $25,000 each year for a decade. Around 2,000 have applied for the top-level domains and the public will have 60 days to comment on the list after it’s released. That period will be when companies and organizations can see whether others’ applications conflict with their interests or with their copyrights. ICANN will ask conflicting parties to work out an agreement, or may ultimately auction off the domain name between competitors.

After all that comes a lengthy approval process, which means that the new addresses likely won’t hit the Web until 2013 or later.

Supporters say that this is a very exciting opportunity for brands, both for those who want to claim their own domain name and for those who want to be associated with a specific part of the Web.

Bhavin Turakhia, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Radix, said it will also help businesses grab the addresses that they really want. Radix has applied for 31 domain names, including .home, .city, .baby and .web.

“If you look at every consumer that tries to find domain name in .com,” he said, “out of every 100, about 70 are settling for a second-best name because the one they wanted is taken.”

Decisions for organizations are not influenced by what they want to do, he argued, but what domain name is available.

“There has been no innovation in this space for the last 25 years,” he said. The Internet land grab, he hopes will remake the Internet landscape into a more innovative place. “We’re waiting with excitement, and are curious about what people have applied for.”

Related stories:

Google applies for .google, .youtube, and .lol domain names

U.S. tech companies, officials warn of foreign regulation over the Internet

ICANN is ready for battle over expansion of Web suffixes

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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