ICANN Says No To Google's Dotless Domain Request
August 18, 2013

ICANN Denies Google’s Request For Dotless Domains

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

A resolution passed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on Tuesday has effectively thwarted Google’s attempt to introduce and operate dotless domains.

According to Andrew Allemann of Domain Name Wire, the applicant guidebook for new top-level domain names (TLDs) had already required individuals to obtain ICANN’s permission if they wish to operate a dotless domain.

“The committee’s resolution reconfirms that dotless domains are prohibited. That’s the safe approach. But once people become more comfortable with hundreds of new top level domain names in general, and if other security concerns end up being non-issues, I wouldn’t be surprised if this topic is revisited,” he added.

Back in April, Google had written a letter to the ICANN board seeking use of unique domain names, CNET’s Desiree Everts DeNunzio explained.

However, the Mountain View, California company was not looking to gain an advantage on their competition by introducing the TLDs, according to Nathan Olivarez-Giles of The Verge.

“Google's proposal to ICANN was to allow each dotless domain to redirect to user-designated sites via a ‘new technical standard’ that the company has spent months developing,” he said. “For example, Google wanted http://search to bring up a search engine of a user's choice – whether it be Google, Bing, Yahoo, or anything else.”

“Likewise, if Google had gotten its way, http://blog would direct web surfers to a user-specified blogging platform, while http://cloud would have done the same for cloud services, and http://app would have done the same for mobile and desktop app stores,” Olivarez-Giles added.

In their resolution, however, ICAN said that they were denying Google’s request for dotless domains based on research that suggested that there were security and stability issues that had to be mitigated before dotless domain names could be implemented. Such risks, they said, would be too difficult to overcome at this time.

“The dotless domain rejection isn't much of a surprise given ICANN's hesitance to change the status quo,” Olivarez-Giles said. “While the organization has said nearly 2,000 new domain names could be on the way, it has introduced new domains relatively slowly.”

“The biggest changes ICANN has introduced this year came in July, when the group activated four generic top-level domains: .شبكة (Arabic for "web"), .游戏 (Chinese for "game"), .онлайн (Russian for "online"), and .сайт (Russian for "web site"),” he added. “Meanwhile, Google has also been pushing for .search, .app, .blog, .cloud, and .map, and Amazon has filed applications for .book and .amazon – some of which are garnering opposition of their own. But so far, ICANN hasn't yet approved or denied those top-level domain name requests.”

Despite ICANN’s decision, Everts DeNunzio said that they could ultimately adapt their plans and seek ownership of the .search generic top-level domain (gTLD) rather than operate it as a dotless domain. The company has not officially announced any such plans at this time, however.