.Com is so last decade these days. Last Wednesday, Icann, the corporation that handles domain names and addresses for the World Wide Web, unveiled that they received over 1,900 applications for new domains names. Domain names are what follow the period in an Internet address. According to Icann’s top executive, Rod Beckstrom, the Internet is starting to change and this is the only the beginning.
Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, among many other major companies, are vying for the new Internet names, some of which are considered top-level names like .love. These domain names might catch on as quickly as .net, .org, and .com did in the past. Supporters of the plan to extend web addresses say the current list of top-level domains are running out of capacity to accommodate the ever-increasing Internet world.
Not surprisingly, Google is one of the more prolific bidders, spending nearly $18.7 million on applications for over 100 of the top-level domains. Icann priced the applications at $185,000 a pop to discourage ingenuous bidders but still received more than 200 bids by multiple bidders. The search engine king of course wants .google, but also applied for .eat, .fly, .new, .plus, and .goog. Most of them are uncontested bids but they will have to spar over .baby with Johnson & Johnson. Bidders have placed their requests and it will be up to Icann to determine who gets ownership of the more contested names.
Microsoft applied for names such as .love, and .docs. Amazon entered bids for 17 of the popular names like .shop, .movie, .music, .wow, .play, .spot, .talk, .store, .you, .game, .smile, .author, .joy, .bot, .call, and .tunes just to name a few.
Internet giant Facebook apparently didn’t apply for any domain names while Apple when for .apple, of course.
.App came in as the reigning top-level name with 13 different applicants hoping for name. Apple, however, did not place a bid on the name even though they made the term commonplace through their mobile apps.
It’s expected that Icann will approve hundreds of these domain names requests and we can plan to see them in use as early as next year. To decide who gets contested bids, Icann will review the bids in groups and take into consideration objections from the various bidders, like right holders. Icann wouldn’t consider an application for .google by anyone other than Google had other bidders applied for the name. One objection they will consider is whether or not a domain name would suit public interest or not. For instance, the public may not like a profit-driven company like Google to own a domain name like .fun or .love.
This expansion creates more opportunity for countries where the Internet isn’t as common as it is in the United States. It also opens a marketing opportunity for businesses who can use their name or their category of business, .clothes, .insurance, or .music as the domain. It could encourage more countries and cities to work on creating a website and speed up the globalization of the Internet market. While the majority of applications came from the United States, a lot came out of Europe and about 300 came out of the Asia-Pacific area.
Some wonder if this change is necessary seeing as people rarely type an exact web address into their search engines anymore but rather use sites like Google or Bing to find what they’re looking for. From previous smaller expansion attempts, Icann found that domain names don’t attract more users. And with more and more people using apps on their mobile devices, web addresses could eventually become mostly obsolete.