The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on Friday announced it has received proposals for 10 new sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs). The new categories include support for mobility, regions and adult-entertainment.
The 10 new domains include: .asia (serving the Pan-Asia and Asia Pacific communities), .cat (promoting the Catalan linguistic and cultural community), .jobs (for human resource management), .mail ( for "spam-free" e-mail), .mobi (for sites promoting mobile computing), .post (providing trusted e-mail), .tel (for VOIP telephony), .travel (serving global travel), and .xxx (for adult-entertainment). Two groups are vying to sponsor the .tel domain, Pulver.com of Melville, N.Y., and Telname Ltd. London of the United Kingdom.
ICANN has already stirred plenty of controversy and is dealing with lawsuits over its so-called wait listing service for back-ordering domain names. Some of new top-level domains may add more fuel to the fire and extra trouble for large corporations with brands to protect.
"I dont see any market demand for them. To this day .com is still the king of the realm," said Anthony Malutta, a lawyers specializing in trademark and intellectual property law with the firm of Townsend & Townsend & Crew LLP of San Francisco.
The proposed new domain names represent an opportunity for ICANN to generate additional revenue, Malutta said. "The dotcom domain is pretty mature. Most existing businesses have their domain names registered," he said.
In addition, there has been little demand for the domains ICANN added in 2000, including .biz, .info, .name and .pro, Malutta noted.
"It certainly adds to the complexity and adds variety to the potential uses and misuses of trademarks," he said. The new domains will offer a new opportunity for brand name replication "by a lot of cybersquatters to attack a brand name and mislead customers," Malutta said.
In addition, the owners of highly specialized brand names wont care about the new domains. But his firms recommendation to companies holding household name brands would be to "promptly register brand names in all available domains because it is a lot cheaper" to register early than to try to reclaim a brand name from a cybersquatter later, Malutta said.
The proposed new domain names were submitted under a request for proposal issued by ICANN on Dec. 15, 2003. The deadline to submit proposals passed on March 16.
A 30-day period for the public to comment on the proposed domains will run from April 1 through 30. A independent panel will evaluate the proposals and public comment starting in May.