So today, after months of build up, the odd system failure and plenty of hype, we finally learned who had applied to run their own generic top level domain and what they were after, but what does it all mean?
Well, 13 June 2012 will forever be a milestone in the history of domain names and for certain the internet’s addressing system will never be the same again. Until now, whatever the prefix combination the suffix extension choice was limited to just 280 ccTLDs and more importantly a mere 22 “generics”, that is about to change wholesale. The new gTLD application window opened on 12 January 2012 and closed on 30 May 2012. ICANN received over 1,900 applications from around the world, but reveal day was just that, just revealing who had applied for a gTLD and what they had applied for, just stage one in a long process.
Of note though looking at the ‘revelations’ online retail giant Amazon made 76 applications including .cloud .drive .shop .store & .mail, Microsoftmade 11 applications mainly based on their existing product names such as .hotmail .azure .bing .docs .skype .office & .xbox and Google put in a whopping 101 applications including .gmail .google .gmbh .web .shop .search & .youtube.
There will certainly be a number of disappointed applicants however, as where more than one applicant is seeking the same gTLD their application fee is absorbed and they then have the ‘opportunity’ to outbid the competition for that name, set to make the application even more expensive. 13 applicants have made an application to .app, 11 each for .home and .inc, even .bog has 9 vying for it’s ownership and the far from short .restaurant has 4 applicants in the mix.Perhaps more surprisinly only one applicant has lay claim to the potentially lucrative .abc and The British Broadcasting Corporation will be expecting .bbc will be granted to them being the only applicant and also worldwide rights holder of the abbreviation.
There are a number of bizarre gTLDs being sought too, especially given the price-tag for the application. .sucks and .wtf may well become the future domains for those bizarre and wonderful things that make the internet such a vibrant community, but quite how, when, why and where .dog and .duck are likely to repay their investment is probably more open to discussion.
Perhaps noticeable omissions are .facebook and .twitter but that probably says more about their owners self-belief than business acumen or desires for world domination. One potential new gTLD does however remind us of what actually this was all about. .domains has just one applicant, who are probably as shocked by that as everybody else looking on.
Now begins the lengthy Evaluation periods, including background screens on application, evaluation panels and a whole host of tests, hoops and requirements to met. Even if ICANN is to hit its original schedule these phases are likely to take months even years if there are objections and appeals, so in reality the great change to the internet is a long way off, but the way ICANN and its panels scrutinise the applications in this stage could have a very big impact on the future development of the internet. Too lenient and ICANN risks losing credibility, too harsh and it risks the wrath of some of the world’s most powerful businesses, who have already invested a great deal of time, effort and money in applying for a new gTLD.
We will be keeping an eye on how things develop and keeping you updated but we are also interested in how you feel about the whole concept? Are you surprised at the popularity of the new gTLD procedure? Do you think it will have a massive impact on the internet of the future?