The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has revealed about 2,000 applications for new Web domain suffixes designed to organize an ever-expanding Internet. The suffixes range from generic, like “.shop,” to specific, like “.pizza.”
Currently, the Web’s over two billion users, of which half live in Asia, rely on only 22 generic Top Level Domain names, including .com. ICANN hopes to start adding to the list by the first quarter of 2013 but warns that evaluating every application could take up to 20 months.
“We're standing at the cusp of a new era of online innovation – innovation that means new businesses, new marketing tools, new jobs, new ways to link communities and share information,” said ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom.
“But let me stress that these are just applications,” he said. “They are not yet approved, and some of them may not be. None of them will enter the Internet until they've undergone a rigorous, objective and independent evaluation.”
Organizations paid a $185,000 fee to file each individual application. Many were logged by companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft. Directi, a Web hosting firm based in Dubai, paid over $30 million to apply for domain suffixes like .bank, .doctor and .law.
Overall, about half of the applicants were from North America; the most underrepresented regions were Africa and Latin America.
Others suggest suffix strings as particular, and curiously appealing, as ".pizza."
Google is vying with Amazon for domain names like .book and .blog. The two Internet giants plus 11 other companies are vying for the most sought-after domain suffix, which is .app. ICANN received 116 applications from organizations hoping to expand domains beyond just the Latin alphabet.
Critics claim that allowing large companies to buy domains could effectively allow monopolies over certain corners of the Internet. While no one disputes the domain suffixes .apple or .google, other names like .inc and .home were hotly contested.
ICANN stated applications from community-based organizations like trade associations will take precedence. After that, the organization will encourage competitors to come up with a teaming arrangement. If no arrangement can be reached, the approved domains will be auctioned off.
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