The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) unveiled the list of approved applicants for a new set of generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) names it proposes to issue. The addition is intended to expand the number of such TLDs significantly from the current twenty or so (.com, .net, .gov etc.).
The move has two goals:
–to introduce TLDs that use non-Latin based characters. This means languages like Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Russian will have domain names in local language characters for the first time. This will make it easier for people whose first language is not Latin-based to use the internet. After all, that’s where most of the future growth will be coming from.
Users may not be conversant withLatin-based characters, for example. And they may have to take elaborate steps with their access devices just to be able to type them.
–to expand the available universe to TLD names beyond those that ICANN finds useful, and to align naming with the specific needs of internet users.
squatters need not apply
…penniless ones, at least. One provision of the application process is that any entity bidding for the right to control and administer a specific name (that is, to say who can use the TLD and who can’t) already have the infrastructure in place to do so.
Here’s the list.
what catches my eye
–Despite the ICANN precautions, most applicants appear to be companies formed specifically to acquire and hold TLD names. donuts.com, which is funded to the tune of $100 million by venture capital and private equity, is an example.
–there’s little match between the 1900+ TLDs requested and the most expensive search terms–like attorney, insurance or rehab–that internet advertisers buy.
–traditional advertising “grabbers” like “Free” or “Buy” aren’t in great demand, either.
–the most highly contested names are “Apps,” with 13 applicants, and names like “Home,” “Like” and “LLC.”
–the largest companies appear content to stake out their company name and the names of their chief brands, so that no one else can control them. Other than that, they’ll wait on the sidelines to see the process evolve.
AMZN is the one exception
AMZN has applied for over 30 TLDs in Latin script, as well as filing 10 of the 116 requests for non-Latin TLDs.
Some of the names are what you’d expect, like “.Amazon,” “.author,” ”.book.”
That AMZN also wants “.AWS,” “.cloud,” “.fire,” or “.app” probably isn’t too surprising, either.
But it is also asking for “.bot,” “.box,” “.coupon,” “.drive,” “.deal,” “.free,” “.got,” and “.now”.
I think the AMZN move makes a lot of sense, for it anyway. The company has more spare server capacity than just about anybody, so the cost for it to corral these names isn’t high. And this many turn out to be just like the earliest days of the internet, when ordinary (albeit geeky) people bought basic domain names like “home.com” and “work.com” just to use for themselves–and later were able to sell them to corporations for tons of money.
The next step in the ICANN process? …a seven-month call for comments. The “list” link above will take you there if you want to chime in.