Amazon and Google will have to square off against each other for control over 21 potential new Top Level Domains, including .APP, .YOU, .BOOK, .TALK it was revealed today.
The two companies registered their interest in a total of 21 of the same domains as part of ICANN’s new gTLD program. These are;
ICANN, the body that manages the development of the internet, revealed the 1,931 potential new domains that have been applied for under its new generic Top Level Domain programme. With the programme, companies and organisations can apply to register any word or set of characters as a Top Level Domain.
A TLD is the two to three characters at the end of a website address, e.g. .COM, .CO.UK, .CO. With this new program we may, as early as 2013, see sites with TLDs such as .APPLE, .GOOGLE, or .AMAZON appearing online.
Speaking at the press announcement in London today Rod Beckstrom, the President and CEO of ICANN, described this as an “historic day,” adding “we are on the cusp of a new era of online innovation…the internet is about the change forever.”
ICANN says companies and organisations from 60 countries applied to register new gTLDs; some 116 of these were for domain extensions not using the Latin alphabet. Although the majority (81%) of these applications came from the US and Europe.
With the list of applicants dominated by US companies it is not surprising to see that Google, Apple, and Amazon were active in registering their interest in certain domains;
Always minimalist, Apple applied for just one gTLD .APPLE.
As for Google, one Sarah Falvey, with a .google.com email address applied for 101 domains under the name Charleston Road Registry Inc. Questions were asked during the press conference if this company represented Google, this is likely so, considering the email address and that this same company applied to register .YOUTUBE. Google has said previously that it was looking to register the .YOUTUBE gTLD.
Among the 101 gTLDs Google wants are .ANDROID, .CHROME, .APP, .ADS, .BOOK, .EARTH, .FILM, .GAME, .GOO, .GOOG, .GOOGLE, .HANGOUT, .WEB, .ZIP, .MUSIC, and .PAGE (perhaps for Larry?).
Amazon says it wants to operate 77 TLDs – including .AUTHOR, .BOX, .HOT, .FIRE, .MOBILE. Interestingly, Amazon also wants to register the .LIKE gTLD.
ICANN and Beckstrom were keen to point out that the list of domains released today represents only those that have come through the application process and not a list of accepted domain name extensions. Although ICANN expects 1,000 domains will be successful and may be in operation from 2013.
According to Beckstrom at least 231 applications have been received to register the same domain name extension. Of the 1,931 applications some 116 of these were for gTLDs in non-Latin characters. Some 37 of these were from companies operating in China, with 18 from Hong Kong. There were also a large number of Western companies who applied to register gTLDs in Chinese; these include L’Oréal (France), Nokia (Finland), two companies from Ireland – TLD Registry Limited and Afilias Limited – registering an interest a total of four Chinese-language domains. Amazon registered 11 Japanese domains from Luxemburg. Philips Electronics registered one Chinese domain from the Netherlands.
Over the next two months ICANN will operate a comment period on any applied-for domain along with a seven month objection period.
But this is only the start of the process; writing yesterday on Forbes David A. Einhorn, partner, and Lesley Portnoy, associate, at law firm Baker Hostetler set out the challenges gTLDs pose to businesses – describing the future of the web as one fraught with legal challenges.
We’ll just have to see how Amazon and Google, and the others, sort out their interests.