June 13, 2012

ICANN Releases New Web Names Applicants

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com

U.S.-based companies are dominating the applications for new Internet address endings, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN said the U.S. is accounting for nearly half of all applications, with 884 requests for new suffixes out of a total of 1,930.

There has been 40 of the applications from the U.K., 303 from the Asia-Pacific region, and 17 from Africa, according to ICANN.

The organization revealed at a press conference that 166 of the claims were from "internationalized domain names," which are generic top-level-domains (gTLDs) that are not in the Latin alphabet.

"That means that if you're a person living in China or in somewhere in India then you might have the opportunity to use the internet purely in your native script," Icann's president and chief executive, Rod Beckstrom, told the BBC.

Each applicant has to pay $185,000 to take part of the process. They then have to undergo an arbitration process for domains where there are multiple applicants. Maintaining the domains will cost at least $25,000 per year.

ICANN said it will try to prioritize community-based applications rather than those from businesses. If no agreement can be reached between parties, an auction process will begin.

The most applied-for generic Top-Level Domains was .App, consisting of over 12 applications. Next to that domain was .Home and .Inc.

"It's going to make the internet more approachable for people," Beckstrom told BBC. "Also we're seeing a trend on mobile devices to people liking short names and there will be opportunities for shorter names here, just because what was previously a second-level name now becomes first-level."

An example the British news agency gave was for Canon cameras. Currently, a web address for the Japanese camera maker is www.canon.com/products, but under the new suffixes, that page would be switched to www.products.canon.

Apple applied for the .apple domain name, and was the only company to request the suffix.  Google, Microsoft, and Amazon also have applied for their own suffixes, each seeking a number of web endings related to their business.

Google has applied for over 100 domains, including ".google," ".youtube," ".android," ".app," ".book," and ".lol".  ICANN said there is no limit on how many applications one company could send in.

Once a business is granted its domain name, it will have to move to the testing phase before formally launching the name.

Not everyone is happy with the new Internet domain name move. Advertisers raised concerns that companies will need to have several defensive addresses or even full domain names to keep counterfeiters away.

However, Beckstrom told reporters that ICANN has added provisions to protect intellectual property, including the option for rapid takedown when brand holders feel their IP may be threatened.

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 told reporters. “It´s like the app market on smartphones. Which ones are going to win? The user decides.”