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ICANN Reveals New Top-Level Domain Applicants

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has revealed the list of applicants applying for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) that will redefine how the world navigates the Internet. In total, there are 1,930 applicants, with many new domains being sought by more than one applicant. By the beginning of 2013, Internet users could be visiting sites with domain names such as .app, .blog, .apple or .dev; some of the more risqué names include .sexy, .sucks and .porn. 

Many of the applicants for gTLDs are very obvious. Microsoft has applied for domain names such as .bing, .azure (its cloud service) and .microsoft. Apple applied for .apple, IBM applied for .IBM and so forth. 

See the full list of domain names for which companies applied here.

Right now, there are only 22 gTLDs that control how users navigate the Internet. Those include .com, .net, .org, and .gov, plus many country-level domains such as .uk (United Kingdom) and .co (Colombia). ICANN stressed that today’s announcement and release of the list of applicants is just the first step. Not all applications will be granted, and many conflicting applicants will have to be resolved. 

Amazon, which is applying through its European office in Luxemburg, applied for 76 gTLDs, which will cost the company millions of dollars in application fees. Some of the more prominent gTLDs that Amazon is shooting for are .cloud, .app and .dev. (Amazon will have competition for .app; in all, 13 companies applied for that gTLD.)

The most aggressive applicant was a company called “Charleston Road Registry Inc.” that applied for 101 domain names. Charleston Road Registry Inc. appears to actually be Google. It was the only entity to apply for specific brand domain names such as .goog, .google, .youtube, .gmail, .android and other properties associated with Google. Charleston Road Registry has also applied for many extremely common domain names such as .baby, .blog, .buy, .boo, .lol, .fly, .free, .game and many more. We have reached out to both Google and Charleston Road Registry to confirm whether the two entities are indeed the same thing.

Update: Charleston Road Registry will be an entity that will manage Google’s gTLD portfolio. 

For more about ICANN’s application process, see What you Need to Know About ICANN’s New Generic Top Level Domains.

In addition to geographic communities, trade associations, large companies and media organizations (such .abc, .cbs, The Guardian and the Boston Globe), there are many holding companies that have applied for gTLDs. For instance, one of the biggest applicants was Top Level Holdings Limited, which applied for 92 domains that cost nearly $13.5 million in application fees. Top Level Domain Holdings applied on behalf of itself and its clients, looking for common names such as .gay, .green, .home and .hotel. Top Level Domain Holdings is a publicly traded holding company on the London Alternative Investment Market (a subset of the London Stock Exchange) that focuses specifically on consulting and registry services for gTLD applicants. 

We could see the first domain names by the beginning of next year. First, there is a 60-day comment period for all applicants, which will be followed by a seven-month objection period. Starting on July 12, each new proposed gTLD will undergo an independent review. That review will examine both the company or entity that is applying for the gTLD and the consequences of the domain name. For instance, the independent review board will be looking at companies such as The Boston Globe to determine if it can properly and technically administer a domain name and what that means to the community it serves. Once domain names are approved, they will be entered into the Domain Name System (DNS) root and become part of the Internet.

Applicants for gTLDs were overwhelmingly from Western countries. North America had 911 applications of the total 1,930. Europe had 611 applications, Asia-Pacific 303, Latin America 24 and Africa 17. That number is actually skewed more heavily in favor of the United States, though, since Amazon, a Seattle-based company, applied through its European office. 

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