NEWS ANALYSIS: Competition for favored generic top-level domains is already fierce as multiple applicants vie for the domain names they want, think they need or think they can sell to someone else.
ICANNs Big Reveal Day revealed what everyone expected. Thousands of
applicants applied for thousands of new gTLDs (generic top-level domains). The
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers revealed the list of who
applied for which top-level domains.
Some of the applicants and the names they
applied for are no surprise. Large companies applied for TLDs that are the same
as their names, for example, Google applied for .google and .youtube. Abbott
Laboratories applied for .abbott.
But there are other TLDs that have many
applicants. For example, the .app domain has been applied for by 13 different
applicants, some of which appear suspiciously like what I suppose you would
call domain trolls that intend to buy a domain and then see how much they can
con someone into paying for it. The TLD .airforce, for example, wasnt applied
for by any nations air force, but by a domain-name holding company.
Some domain applications seem to have
applications from seemingly equal groups. The domain .cruise applications are
from two different cruise lines. Others, like .diy are being competed for by groups
of holding companies. But still others, such as .foodnetwork, are being applied
for only by a single domain brokerage. You can guess who theyll try to sell
that one to.
Whats happened here is that a number of
companies failed to protect their trademarks, and now theyre finding that
someone else has applied for the TLD, and if they want it, theyll have to put
up with either a trademark lawsuit or fork over a ton of cash to get it.
Most of the really big companies out there
apparently have marketing officers savvy enough to know that applying for a TLD
in their name was a good way to protect their trademark, and to ensure that
their customers wouldnt be confused by an email or a Website that seems to be
theirs, but isnt.
So whats going to happen when this all
shakes out? For many applicants, the process will be straightforward. Theyre
either the trademark holder and they were the only applicant for a domain, so
they will get it; or they represent a region, such as the applicant for .barcelona,
which represents the region. Theyll also get their choice.
Then there are the vast numbers of domain
trolls that have applied for names such as .shop, and no matter what ICANN
does, therell probably be a fight.
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.