In bid for domains, business giants vie for .you
Google hopes to inherit the Earth , or at least .earth. And Amazon wants to bring you .joy. It's probably no surprise that they both want .you.
Those were among the 1,930 applications revealed Wednesday in London for new generic top-level domain names, going beyond the ubiquitous .com that we see on most commercial websites in an online land-grab that could be the largest expansion of the Internet's domain-name system.
The domains are administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. They now go through a review process that could take months or years.
"The Internet is about to change forever," ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom declared, adding that innovations could find homes in the new addresses.
There were 1,930 proposals for 1,409 different suffixes. The bulk came from North America and Europe.
Many of the applications are to be expected. Companies that include broadcaster ABC, BMW Group and Yahoo Inc. staked their claim on their names. Interestingly, Nissan brought back its old brand in .datsun.
It's no surprise that the company that already owns .xxx went for .adult and .porn.
Two companies in particular have a significant number of applications, and several that overlap. Amazon and Google went after .game, .movie, .wow for example.
Amazon seemed to focus on its core with .author, .book, .read and .buy.
Google selected some very interesting plays for specific career areas .cpa, .esq, .phd and .prof, among them. It's also making a play for the family with .baby, .kids, .mom, .dad and .pet. It also went for .day but not .night, apparently.
Google is interested in the .here, and Amazon wants the .now. Amazon wants .zero and Google wants .zip.
Of the more curious ones Google applied for are .lol, .are, .boo, .foo and .rsvp. This may give some insight into what future forays it may have in mind.
Somewhat surprisingly, Apple didn't make a play for .music or .tunes or any of its iProducts. Just the company name.
Apple Inc., Sony Corp. and American Express Co. also are among companies that are seeking names with their brands. The wine company Gallo Vineyards Inc. wants ".barefoot."
Companies and groups had to pay $185,000 per proposal. Suffixes could potentially generate millions of dollars a year for winning bidders as they sell names ending in some of the approved names. Critics of the expansion include a coalition of business groups worried about protecting their brands in newly created names.
If approved, some of the new suffixes (but certainly not all, or even many) could rival ".com" and about 300 others now in use. Companies would be able to create separate websites and separate addresses for each of their products and brands, even as they keep their existing ".com" name. Businesses that joined the Internet late, and found desirable ".com" names taken, would have alternatives.
From a technical standpoint, the names let Internet-connected computers know where to send email and locate websites. But they've come to mean much more. For Amazon.com Inc., for instance, the domain name is the heart of the company, not just an address.
Where the proposals came from in many ways mirrored where the Internet is used most. Nearly half of the proposals 911 were from North America and another 675 came from Europe.
Only 17 proposals came from Africa and 24 came from Latin America and the Caribbean areas where Internet use is relatively low.
One surprise came from the Asia-Pacific region, which had 303 proposals, or 16 percent of the total. It was believed that Asia might get more because the expansion will lift restrictions on non-English characters and permit suffixes in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. There were 116 proposals, or 6 percent, for suffixes using characters beyond the 26 English letters.
The public now has 60 days to comment on the proposals. Someone can claim a trademark violation or argue that a proposed suffix is offensive.
It will take at least a year or two for ICANN to approve the first of these new suffixes. ICANN will review each proposal to make sure that its financial plan is sound and that contingencies exist in case a company goes out of business. Bidders also must pass criminal background checks.
O List of proposals at http://bit.ly/L4MYed
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