Techman: Sought-after domain names set to further muddle the Web
Share with others:
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, released the list of more than 1,900 applications for new top-level domain names last week.
ICANN is a nonprofit that controls everything in a Web address that comes after the dot -- com, gov, edu being some of the more familiar ones. ICANN decided that the 302 generic Top Level Domains weren't enough. Of that number, only 22 are generics, such as .com, while the remainder are country codes, such as .us.
ICANN said it was expanding the list to "increase competition and choice," but some point to the fact that just to take part in the process and win a name cost $185,000, and to keep the name is an additional $25,000 a year.
So you won't see a lot of citizens trying to immortalize themselves on the Web, except for maybe .gates or .buffett, neither of which were sought.
The most hotly sought domain was .app, with 13 applications. Others garnering multiple applications were .art, .book, .news, .play, .shop and .vip. The largest volume of applications, 307, came from Donuts, a company set up explicitly to make the bids.
Google also was a prolific applicant, seeking 101 suffixes. Some of those were the expected ones -- .google and .youtube -- but others less so -- .and, .boo, .dad, .lol, .kid and .new.
Amazon went after 76 -- ".amazon" and ".zappos" (a shoe retailer it owns) -- but also .author, .buy, .circle, .deal, .fast and .tunes.
Google and seven others, including Amazon, applied for .music. Six bids were made for .now, including Amazon and Starbucks. The coffee seller also applied for .nowtv. There were two applicants for .sex and one for .sexy. However, .love has seven suitors. Only Amazon sought .like, perhaps taking a shot at Facebook.
One company each sought .man and .men, but no one pursued .women or .woman.
One suitor wanted .vegas, but of course we can't tell you who, since "what happens with .vegas stays ..."
Many firms applied for their company or product names: .volvo, .maserati, .lexus, .heinz (which also sought .ketchup), .pnc and .metlife.
Apple applied for .apple but not .mac. There was one bid for .sucks, probably hoping to sell it to some company needing to protect its brand from being a Web address ending in that word.
In the sports world, there was competition for .baseball, .basketball, .football and .hockey. But no one sought .curling.
No bids for .nascar but three for .cars. One of the longest names requested was .carinsurance by Allstate. Think about typing that in your browser.
In the nonprofit world, the American Heart Association bid for .heart and .stroke. The National Rifle Association sought .nra, but no one wanted .gun. Also, no bids for .weapons or .plowshares.
No one wanted .death, but .tax got one bid.
Gallo Vineyards applied for .barefoot and L'Oreal for .hair.
There were two bids for .earth but none for any other planet, including .pluto, just another insult after being stripped of its planethood. At least Disney could have bid for it.
While not extraterrestrial, the bids were global. Applicants were concentrated in North America (911), Europe (675) and the Asia-Pacific region (303). There were only 17 applications from Africa. Applications for suffixes in non-latin alphabets totaled 116, including Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Russian.
The idea of selling these new domain names has been controversial from the beginning. Opponents claim that it forced companies to make "defensive registrations" of domains based on their trademarks and brands to prevent trademark infringement, "phishing" attacks on customers using look-alike domain names, and "cybersquatting" on domain names by individuals or companies seeking to turn an exorbitant profit in selling them.
Coca-Cola and Kellogg's, among 87 signatories to a petition opposing the process, refused to take part.
ICANN will now begin the process of looking at awarding the domains in batches of 500. The first new domains could appear early next year.
So get ready for the Web to get a little more confusing and a lot more commercial.
First Published June 17, 2012 12:00 am