ICANN, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has unveiled the applications for new top level domain names. There was originally a list of just six gTLDs, generic Top Level Domains (gTLD), consisting of .com, .org, .net, .gov, .mil, and .edu. These have been joined by a series of others, such as .museum, .aero and, most recently, .xxx for adult-only domains.
The domain expansion program allowed companies and brands to apply for control over their own top level domain. Over 1900 gTLD applications were received for a wide range of terms, applicants included Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and even the Vatican which has applied for .catholic in English, Arabic, Russian and Cantonese.
Noteworthy applicants include Google which has applied for 101 different top level domains including .android, .baby, .love, .buy, and .book amongst others. Many of these top level domains are the same as Amazon's 76 applications putting the two brands in direct competition. The gTLD of .app was the most contested, seeing applications from both Google and Amazon as well as 11 other organisations who have all applied to be the registrar, surprisingly Apple is not one of the applicants. At the other end of the scale there are some top level domains with only a single applicant such as .cymru and .wales which were both applied for by .uk domain registrar Nominet.
Several companies are applying for their brand names as a top level domain, perhaps in an effort to make accessing their online presence easier. Examples of this include the BBC which has applied for the extension of .bbc, Apple which has applied for .apple and Microsoft which has applied for a range of domain names including .bing, .hotmail, .windows, and .xbox. Coca-Cola and Kelloggs have not applied for any top level domains as they are amongst a group of companies which are opposed to the domain expansion program, Samsung is also opposed to the program but has nonetheless applied for two top level domains, .samsung and the equivalent in Korean.
The applications will go through a "Batching Process" where the applications are split up into four groups of 500 applications; each group or batch is then considered over the course of 18-20 weeks. Given the amount of time it takes to review a batch of applications there is a difference of 18 months between applicants reviewed in the first and last batches. To secure a place in the first batch applicants must log in to ICANN's system and state their preferred batch number. They must then log in as closely as possible to a target time, those that login closest to the time will get a place while later logins will go into the later batches. Applicants that do not get the top level domain they applied for will be refunded the $25,000 application fee.
The full list of top level domain applicants is available here.