What’s in a name?
The Internet’s latest land rush has started again. The responsible for domain names (ICANN) has recently revealed a list of proposed new top-level domains. It costs over £100k just to get them to evaluate a request so it’s looking like a £200m+ bonanza for ICANN. This time around we are seeing big companies and brands wading in with proposal including Amazon, Audi, General Motors, Google, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart.
Google alone seeks recognition for over 100 new gTLDs, including .blog, .book, .cloud, .docs, .phd, and .wow. In a blog post last month, Google chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf wrote that the gTLDs Google has applied for relate to its trademarks, its core business, the Google user experience, or domains that “have interesting and creative potential, such as .lol.”
However, Coca-Cola and the cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s, which also signed a petition in protest, have abstained. Google has also requested .music, which has been claimed by seven other organisations including the online retailer Amazon. Other gTLDs attracting multiple requests include .art, .book, .news, .play, .shop and .vip.
The most contested name is .app which received 13 applications.
Getting the right name can make a huge difference and what we see from the big brands is an attempt to own the bit after the dot. This will give them more influence over domain names and ultimately the internet – which I think is bad. It does have the benefit of hopefully stopping the shameful practice of domain name squatting - which I think is good.