The landscape of the Internet is about to change. (/Illustration by JESS3 )
The organization tasked with regulating the Web’s domain names — that’s everything to the right of the dot in a URL — released its list detailing who has applied for new Web suffixes Wednesday.
Companies who applied for new addresses include Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft as well as prominent firms such as Macy’s, Wal-Mart and Tiffany. Each application cost the companies $185,000.
Most kept it short. Apple applied for “.apple” but not “.mac”; Amazon went for 76 names, including “.amazon” and “.zappos” in their applications. Other firms applied for names that seem like they will be a huge pain to type. Case in point: it may get annoying to type in Allstate’s proposed “.carinsurance” anytime you want to check for a quote.
Google appeared to have applied for over 100 domains including the announced “.google,” “.youtube” and “.lol.” The same company that applied for those names also put in for “.android”, “.ads”, “. app”, “.book” and “.kid”, among others. There was no limit on how many applications one company could send in, ICANN said.
The organization said it’s up to the institutions approved for domain names to decide how to use any Web real estate they may win.
Applicants were heavily concentrated in North America (911), Europe (675) and the Asia-Pacific region (303). There were only 17 applications from Africa, which raised questions at ICANN’s event about whether the cost of an application was too high to be equitable.
The group said that it expects to post the initial results of its reviews in December or January. Those that fail the review process will have the option to apply for an extension.
Several domain names, such as “.web” and “.tech” have multiple applicants; those will be resolved between applicants.
After a new domain name is approved, the operating firm will then have to move to the testing phase before formally launching the domain name. ICANN said it expects the first new address to go live in 2013.
Advertisers have criticized ICANN’s proposal, saying they feel their concerns were not adequately addressed during the initial review process. Advertisers and others have raised concerns that companies will have to have several defensive addresses or even full domain names to keep counterfeiters at bay.
ICANN president Rod Beckstrom said in Wednesday’s conference that ICANN has added provisions to protect intellectual property, including the option for rapid takedown when brand holders feel their IP may be threatened. ICANN also reserves the right to take a domain name back if it there is significant abuse.
“ICANN’s program may open up new opportunities, but it also presents a whole new frontier of potential—and likely—abuse by those seeking to profit from the name, reputation, and content of others,” said Scott Bain, Chief Litigation Counsel for the Software and Information Industry Association.
The list’s release marks the latest phase of ICANN’s long process to remake the landscape of the Internet. The organization has hit a few snags along the way, including a technical problem that swapped the data of some applications, which forced the group to extend the deadline.
Beckstrom said that the organization refunded about $3.5 million in application fees, but said he did not know if any of those organizations had asked for refunds.
Looking forward, he said while ICANN is responsible for setting up the domain names, Web users will ultimately determine the success or failure of each name.
“It’s up to consumers to pick the winners and the losers,” he said. “It’s like the app market on smartphones. Which ones are going to win? The user decides.”
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