ICANN Opens Floodgates For Top Level Domains
June 14, 2012

ICANN Opens Floodgates For Top Level Domains

John Neumann for redOrbit.com

“The internet is about to change forever — now a powerful change is coming.” Says Rod Beckstrom, chief executive of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization responsible for giving the internet its basic operational framework. The new top-level domains, or TLDs, will start to come online in the first quarter of 2013.

You will soon see the familiar web suffix of .com and .net replaced with .app, .kids, .love, .pizza and even more corporate-specific endings such as .amazon and .google, coming as early as next year, reports Matt Warman, Consumer Technology Editor for The Telegraph.

The face of the internet would indeed become radically changed as the move opens up a new web address grab by savvy corporations and domain squatters, while forcing non-computer oriented companies to buy up a flood of unnecessary domain names to keep their brands unsullied.

The BBC has applied for .BBC, justifying the $185,000 application fee as key to protecting the broadcaster´s brand holding ground for its internet oriented future. The same story is being played out with .apple, .google, .amazon etc.

Some domain names have more than one applicant, Beckstrom noted. For example, software giant Microsoft is going after “.docs” in a move that pits it against Google, which wants to protect Google Docs, its free online documents, spreadsheets and presentation software that challenges Microsoft´s Office.

Google has been particularly aggressive in seeking new domains, applying for .android, .app, .blog, .buy, .corp and more than 100 more, writes Scott Martin for USA Today. There is a wider digital land grab at stake as well, with multiple applicants vying for the popular words .app, .blog, .buy and .corp.

ICANN will need to find a resolution method to resolve hundreds of such conflicts, which will see a combination of trademark disputes and arguments about which companies or organizations will be appropriate owners of TLDs. ICANN reckons that it will be able to process the applications in batches of about 500 each, taking between four-and-a-half and five months each. That means it will take about 18 months to process the entire set.

Almost 2,000 applications have been received so far for the new internet suffixes, with 884 from US based organizations, reports Charles Arthur for The Guardian. Forty come from the UK, 303 from the Asia-Pacific region and 17 from Africa.

David Taylor, a lawyer from Hogan Lovells, said, “We will see innovative new space and vast possibilities for other language sections of the internet. Many big brands have seized this unique opportunity and also applied to run their own piece of the internet.”