On June 13th the non-profit group regulating domain names ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has revealed the list of around 2000 new generic top-level domains (gTLD). The companies were allowed to propose domain names they wish to register for and now the public has 60 days to comment on the list and 7 months for possible objections.
The suffixes proposed range from .boo and .lol to .rip. The proposal evaluation was $185,000 and a domain name will cost minimum 25,000 annually. 230 suffixes had more than one application and those will be auctioned unless the companies solve the issue between themselves. The most popular suffixes were .app with 13 applications and .book with 9. This battle for domains would make a significant impact to the online market as we know it – with privately controlled domain names it wouldn’t be as open as it is now.
The critics have attacked the idea arguing that this might eliminate small competitors from the market. The biggest companies will gain even more power to control users and keep them in the particular field of the Internet. With domains that are specific to a service or an industry there won’t be an open competition as it is under .com. The user experience with the Web will be completely different.
There are sharp reactions among advertisers, too. They emphasized the question of the companies that would have to buy several different suffixes in order to protect their brand. ICANN therefore added a particular option that would enable a domain holder to take down a website if they feel their intellectual property is stolen. The good side is that brands have the opportunity to register domains that are specific to them and make themselves associated with a particular field on the Web.
The companies that are most frequently mentioned in relation to this battle for domains are of course giants Google and Amazon. It is reported that Google wanted an exclusive right to the domains .blog and .search. They have applied for 101 domain name in total, while Amazon applied for 76. Among Amazon’s choices there are .book, .movie, .amazon and .zappos. Both of these companies applied for .cloud, together with another 5 companies. This accounts for the growing popularity of cloud computing in general.
The project of the Internet liberalization started 7 years ago among the people who believed that the Internet shouldn’t be limited to the Latin alphabet only. However, only 166 out of all requests were for the alternatives to the Latin alphabet.
What will companies do with certain domain names remains to be seen after all the rush is over. One thing is for sure – the Internet will become a whole new experience for both the users and the brands. Despite all the criticism, the change is not necessarily bad. ICANN and other companies consider this a positive innovation in that will enhance the consumers’ way of choice. Considering the fact how big and important to our everyday lives the Internet has become this seems logical.