The organization that oversees Internet domain names revealed Wednesday who has applied for which generic top-level domains in what is expected to be the largest expansion in the history of the naming system.
The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, reports 1,930 top-level domain applications were received during the application period. Sixty-six are geographic name applications and 116 are for Internationalized Domain Names, or IDNs, for strings in scripts such as Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic.
"We are standing at the cusp of a new era of online innovation," said Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN. "That means new businesses, new marketing tools, new jobs, and new ways to link communities and share information."
Amazon vs. Google
Driving it home to the technology industry, Internet giants like Amazon and Google are hoping to get top-level domains like .earth and .you. Amazon and Google also both went after .movie, .game. and .wow.
Amazon is also zeroing in on domains like .book, .author, .read and .buy while Google is focusing on career-oriented domains like .phd, .prof, .cpa and .esq and family domains like .pet, .kids, .mom and baby.
ICANN Senior Vice President Kurt Pritz said the applications would now be subject to a public comment and objection period, and a rigorous, objective and independent evaluation system.
"A 60-day comment period begins today, allowing anyone in the world to submit comments on any application, and the evaluation panels will consider them," Pritz said. "If anyone objects to an application and believes they have the grounds to do so, they can file a formal objection to the application. And they will have seven months to do that."
We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his thoughts on the new top-level name possibilities. He told us there are pros and cons.
"While this opens up the possibility of better naming opportunities I also think this alphabet soup of domains is unlikely to catch on," Sterling said. "It also places a burden on companies to do preventative buying so that they protect their trademarks and brands."
A Radical Shift
In a move that demonstrates just how important the new top-level domain names are, public relations firm Burson-Marsteller just formed a consulting group to advise clients on introducing new domain names into the system. It's a natural next step for the firm, considering ICANN engaged Burson-Marsteller as its agency of record for the worldwide education campaign on the new generic top-level domain offerings.
Nate Tibbits, U.S. public affairs practice chair who is leading the new Burson-Marsteller group, said: "We are now at the start of a radical shift on the World Wide Web that has implications for brands, companies and nearly every organization with a presence on the Web."