“The Internet is about to change forever,” Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), said during a press conference in London this morning.
At this point, there are 22 gTLDs, including .com, .org, and .net. In June 2011, however, ICANN approved a plan that would allow people to apply for new gTLDs, like .pcmag, for example. ICANN started accepting gTLD applications via its TLD Application System (TAS) on Jan. 12, and after a glitch took the system offline for several days, the application process closed last month.
Today, ICANN revealed the list of applied-for domains, which covers everything from fedex and fido to transformers and translation.
On the tech front, Apple only applied for .apple – no .iphone or .ipad on the list. Samsung also sought to secure the rights to its name with two applications; one for .samsung and another for its name in Korean characters.
Google, however, appears to have applied for dozens of domains under the name Charleston Road Registry. The company did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation that all Charleston Road Registry applications were related to Google, but they include product-related domains like google, youtube, android, app, blog, book, chrome, cloud, docs, drive, earth, gmail, nexus, hangout, and search. There’s also moto, presumbly related to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, as well as generic domain names, like tech, web, buy, fyi, how, family, mom, lol, meme, and love.
Google confirmed last month that it had applied for several gTLDs. At the time, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, Vint Cerf, said that “by opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse—and perhaps shorter—signposts in cyberspace.”
Amazon, meanwhile, also made a bid for several domains, including amazon, app, audible, cloud, fire, imdb, kindle, and map.
At Microsoft, the software giant is looking to secure the rights to azure, bing, docs, hotmail, live, microsoft, office, skydrive, skype, windows, and xbox.
As you may have noticed, several tech giants applied for some of the same domains. Symantec, Amazon, and Google will all be battling for the rights to .cloud, for example, while Google and Microsoft both want .docs. Blog was also quite popular, with nine separate applications, including one from Google.
ICANN said that approximately 231 domains were applied for by more than one organization, a list that also includes book, broadway, buy, cars, casino, city, college, corp, fashion, and more.
When asked if it was unfair for major companies to hoard all the more popular domain names, Beckstrom said said the “program was opened up as a level playing field and it’s really up to the institution to decide whether they want to participate.”
Domain applications come with a hefty price tag. Applicants paid a $185,000 evaluation fee, with $5,000 upfront, though some organizations might be afforded a discount depending on their situation. ICANN said today that it collected approximately $350 million from applicants; about $60,000 will be set aside for each applicant for a “risk contingency fund.”
Overall, Beckstrom said ICANN received applications from 60 different countries; 901 were from North America, 675 were from Europe, 303 were from the Asia Pacific region, 24 were from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 17 were from Africa.
“If even three-fourths of these applications are approved, the total number of gTLDs will expand approximately four fold,” Beckstrom said.
ICANN will now open up a 60-day comment period, where anyone can give their two cents about the program and the applied-for domains. Also today, a seven-month objection period begins if anyone takes issue with the domains for which companies have applied.
Starting next month, meanwhile, ICANN will convene various evaluation panels, which will consider things like whether an applied-for TLD string is too similar to another TLD, whether it meets technical requirements, and whether it is a geographic name. The panels will also consider whether the firms that applied for the domains are capable of running a registry.
The results of these initial evaluations should be complete by December or January, ICANN said. At this point, those who applied for a discount on the application fee will also find out if their request has been granted.
An application that has no objections will then proceed to pre-delegation. “Eventually the string will be live and reachable on the Internet as a TLD,” ICANN said. “However, some applications will be subject to special processes depending on the circumstances.”
That includes those domains that have more than one application; “attempts to resolve the contention begin” at that point, ICANN said.