Defensive gTLD Acquisitions an Expensive Strategy
Organizations should evaluate the opportunity "strategically" and consider what new business initiatives or models would be possible with the new ability to "own and operate a registry," Ernst said. For organizations applying defensively to protect their brand, the registry would be exceptionally onerous, according to the United States Department of Commerce. "We think, and I am sure ICANN and its stakeholders would agree, that it would not be healthy for the expansion program if a large number of companies file defensive top-level applications when they have no interest in operating a registry," Lawrence Strickling, the assistant secretary for communications and information at the U.S. Department of Commerce and administrator of the department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, wrote in a letter to ICANN Jan. 3.ICANN will keep accepting applications until April 12. After the application window closes, ICANN is not expected to reopen the process for at least two or three years. Prospective applicants have to register for the TLD Application System (TAS) by March 29, since TAS is the only way they can apply for the domain name suffix. ICANN has previously estimated it will receive 500 to 1,000 applications. There are reports they have received a little less than 300 so far. This isn't the only land-grab of high-demand domain names going on at the moment. RegistryPro, the operator of the .pro TLD is currently in the midst of a seven-day auction offering one-, two- and three-character domain names that had previously been unavailable. From Jan. 10 to Jan. 17, bidders can try to buy domains such as 1.pro, go.pro, 3D.pro and job.pro, the company said. "Everyone knows the value of a short domain name, and we are happy to give the professional public the opportunity to bid on these great .PRO names," said Karim Jiwani, president of RegistryPro.
ICANN board members voted to open the number of domain name fixes at their meeting in Singapore last June. At the moment, there are 22 gTLDs, including .com, .biz, .info and .org. There are also about 250 country-specific domains such as .co.uk, .ca and .jp. Along with brand names and generic words, ICANN will also accept applications using non-Latin characters and non-English words.