New TLDs: who applied for what

ICANN has revealed the applications for new top-level domains (TLDs) – covering everything from .app to .pizza.

 It’s had a total of 1,930 new gTLD applications from 60 different countries and territories, with Google and Amazon applying for dozens each.

“We are standing at the cusp of a new era of online innovation,” says Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s president and CEO. “That means new businesses, new marketing tools, new jobs, and new ways to link communities and share information.”

North America accounts for the most applications, with 911, follwed by Europe with 675. The Asia-Pacific region accounts for 303, while Latin America and Africa trail a long way behind with 24 and 17 respectively.

Most of the new TLDs were proposed by just one applicant, but there’s competition for 231. The most popular is .app, with 13 bids, follwed by .home with 11 and .inc with 12.

Also on the list were – unsurprisingly – .sex, and even .sucks, which could form a very lucrative system of blackmail. If you’re Tim Cook, for example, you’d probably want to buy up before anyone else gets the chance.

Google applied for 101 names – including .shop, .game, and even .mom and .dad, while Amazon applied for 76, including .book. Apple’s been more restrained, with just one, uncontested, application for .apple.

Many, though, may not end up in use even if applicants are successful.

“I was taking inquiry calls from big companies right up to the application deadline, and many sounded the same. ‘We’re not sure exactly what we’re going to do with the TLD, but we don’t want anyone else to get it, so we’re going to apply for it anyway.’ That’s $185,000, plus perhaps double that in cost to complete the application and put registry services in place,” says Forrester analyst Jeff Ernst.

“These applicants will underwhelm us with the information that is revealed, and assuming they get delegated, they are likely to fall in the later rounds and will sit on their registries doing the bare minimum to meet ICANN requirements. I expect that some of the defensive applicants will even withdraw right away if no other parties have applied for their string.”

The process has been criticized for being too expensive, at $185,000 a pop. This, say critics, may be why poorer regions have applied for far fewer TLDs. Many businesses are also annoyed at having to fork out so much to protect their brand names.

Applications will now be subject to a public comment and objection period, and an independent evaluation.

“A 60-day comment period begins today, allowing anyone in the world to submit comments on any application, and the evaluation panels will consider them,” says ICANN senior vice president Kurt Pritz.

“If anyone objects to an application and believes they have the grounds to do so, they can file a formal objection to the application. And they will have seven months to do that.”