Thursday, 14th June 2012, 16:32:01
The wait is finally over. After months of anticipation and weeks of security-related delays, the Internet Corporation for the Assignment of Names and Numbers (ICANN) has finally revealed the details of its TLD (Top Level Domains) application process.
In what is set to become the largest expansion in the history of the internet's domain name system, ICANN announced that a total of 1,930 applications were received.
The majority (911) were from countries in North America, and there were 675 from Europe, 303 from Asia-Pacific, 24 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 17 from Africa.
The applications did not come cheap; each cost $185,000 (£125,000), to say nothing of the $25,000 (£16,000) in annual fees.
A number of technology companies were among the applicants, including Apple, Amazon, Dell, Microsoft and Google. The search giant alone applied for ownership and control of .google and .lol.
ICANN also revealed that around 230 suffixes have more than one applicant, which could lead to a clash of internet titans; both Amazon and Google have applied for a number of domains including .cloud, .docs, .search and .store, not to mention .app.
According to ICANN, .app is the most sought after TLD with 13 companies battling to secure it.
Expert opinion regarding the online shake up is varied, but most agree on the magnitude of the change.
ICANN president and chief executive officer Rod Beckstrom said that the development marked "the cusp of a new era of online innovation".
"That means new businesses, new marketing tools, new jobs, and new ways to link communities and share information," he commented.
Stephen Ewart, marketing manager for Names.co.uk, told CBRonline that it was "a very bold move" from ICANN to go from launching one or two domain extensions a year to opening hundreds more, but warned that giving brands complete control over their own gTLDs could have negative consequences.
"Our concern is that this could lead to more Facebook-style walled gardens as big brands seek to keep you in their own areas of the Internet. Make no mistake, this change to the domain name world will lead to more competition and consumer choice, but it could also be viewed as a silent privatisation of the web - for better or worse," he said.
Another very real concern is that of data security. The unfamiliarity of the new suffixes could make it increasingly difficult for customers to instinctively differentiate between genuine websites and those carrying particular risks.
The TLD application process was not without its own security issues; the deadline was extended on more than one occasion following a security glitch that made some applicants' personal details visible to others, without their knowledge.
Now that the lengthy phase is over, the evaluations are set to begin and all the participating companies are still subject to scrutiny.
ICANN senior vice president Kurt Pritz said that all the applications "will now be subject to a public comment and object period and a rigorous, objective and independent evaluation system".
"If anyone objects to an application and believes they have the grounds to do so, they can file a formal objection to the application. And they will have seven months to do that," he said.
Categories: | Domain Names |
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