Today may be the most important day in the history of the internet. The first ever mass batch of new generic top level domains (gTLDs) and their respective applicants were revealed in London. Several of the biggest names in commerce laid claim to extensions they found beneficial to their brand, or they found to possess a high resale or utility value. This is where things get interesting.
If you were the only entity to apply for a certain gTLD, good for you, it’s yours. Where things get sticky is when a gTLD has multiple applicants. Community based applicants will first be given a priority over others. If there are still divisions, the rival groups will be asked to cooperate on running a particular domain name registry. If after this, there are still multiple parties interested in the same gTLD, the name will go to auction. Let’s hope these are televised.
The Big Boys
There were some notable absences (Facebook), and the actions by our favorite brands held some surprises. Apple, generally a forward-thinking company, only went after .APPLE. Evidently they have no desire to be flipping domain names for a few million on the side when they’ve got $100 billion cash. Still, it’s reasonable to assume that they would’ve at least gone after .MAC, .APP or .IPOD. Microsoft mostly covered their brands including .XBOX, .OFFICE and .SKYPE, but they’re set up for a couple of huge battles with Google on some popular gTLDs.
The Key Battles
The process of determining who gets what gTLD will not be easy. It will be hotly contested and it’ll take some time. Here are a few of the more intriguing battles we can expect to see on the top level domain battlefield.
.LIVE- It’s surprising that more companies didn’t make a play for .Live; it’s a versatile word used by everyone, everyday. Microsoft (owns Live.com and Xbox Live) will be going head to head with Google for this gTLD. There is one dark horse candidate, Donuts.co, a newly formed virtual real estate entity going after over 300 gTLDs.
.DOCS- Google offers a popular service called docs, but Microsoft owns Docs.com. It’s safe to say this name won’t be decided amicably.
.DRIVE- Google has a service called Drive, so .DRIVE should be an easy acquisition for them, right? Actually Amazon, with their Cloud Drive service, won’t go quietly into the night.
.APP- Google and Amazon will be duking it out at the top, along with 11 other applicants in the most contested TLD application out there. Why didn’t Apple, owner of the biggest app store in the world, apply for this? WWSJHD?
.CLOUD- Google, Amazon, and Symantec are after what’s become the biggest buzz word of the decade so far.
.WOW- DemandMedia (eHow, Cracked.com) vs. Google vs. Amazon. Where are the Warcraft guys?
.HOME- GoDaddy, Google, Donuts.Co and others vie for a place near and dear to our hearts.
The Most Contested
231 gTLDs were applied for by multiple applicants. Here are the most popular ones.
.APP- 13 .HOME- 11
.INC- 11 .ART- 10
.BLOG- 9 .BOOK- 9
.LLC- 9 .SHOP- 9
.DESIGN- 8 .MOVIE- 8
.MUSIC- 8 .LOVE- 7
.WEB- 7 .MAIL- 7
.NEWS- 7 .STORE- 7
.CLOUD- 7 .HOTEL- 7
Seems to be what you would expect here. .DESIGN is probably the biggest surprise.
Would you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to own these TLDs?
The main problem with these is that they seem either long or unnecessary. Will these help these businesses? Is there a competitive advantage to be had? This is what happens when companies have large sums of money burning a hole in their pockets.
Here are a few names we certainly expected, but were no-shows to the big dance.
There will be another application period down the road, and you can expect to see a lot of these names selected at that point.
One interesting aspect of the new gTLD applications is that, for the first time ever, they are allowing non-roman script top level domains. Less than 10% of the applications were of this variety, but there were still 113 overall, ranging from Arabic to Chinese and everywhere in between. You can view that list here.
1] There are currently 22 active gTLDs. There were 1,409 new gTLDs applied for.
2] .REPUBLICAN, .DEMOCRAT and .GOP got one application each. There were no applications for .LEFT or .RIGHT.
3] Wal-Mart applied for 6 gTLD’s including 一号店 which means ‘one shop’ in Chinese.
4] L’Oreal was on the ball, covering up their brands, along with .HAIR, .BEAUTY, .MAKEUP, .SKIN and .SALON
5] There were only two .GOLD apps, one .CASH app and one .TRADE app.
6] Only four U.S. cities were applied for: .NYC .VEGAS .MIAMI and .BOSTON.
7] A big concern that companies had was having to defensively register their company name in hundreds of new gTLDs. Luckily, access to many of these gTLDs will be limited to within the particular company. For TLD’s like .SUCKS, though, you’ll probably want to grab your brand before someone else does.
8] .BEER went uncontested! There was one applicant and they got it.
It was certainly a colossal day in the virtual world of the internet. Today set in motion some big changes for the two billion current users of the web, along with the billions of users of tomorrow.
It will take some time for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to sort through all of these applications. For the uncontested gTLDs, we could see them implemented as soon as early 2013. For the contested ones, it could be a number of years. Prepare for confusion and saturation, as well as new ideas and opportunities. Like it or not, the future of the internet is here.
Trackback from your site.