US companies show most interest in new top-level domain names

ICANN is examining applications to create 1930 new generic TLDs, 884 of them from US companies but just 17 from Africa

Seven companies want news, eight want music or a movie, and seven want love. Four want pizza, but none of them make it. Only two want sex, and one even wants a unicorn.

Those names figure among the 1930 applications to create and operate new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) revealed Wednesday by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which coordinates the DNS (Domain Name System), selecting registries and setting rules for management of top-level domain names including .com, .org, .info and .biz.

The gTLD "google" was claimed by Charleston Road Registry along with 100 others including "search," "store" and "youtube." The company appears to be acting for Google. App was applied for by 13 companies, including Amazon, through its European subsidiary, and Google.

Chrysler Group wants to register "chrysler," "dodge" and "jeep," among others, a classic example of how ICANN expects the new domain names to be used to promote brands.

Despite suggestions that there might be a battle for control of generic names such as "cola," neither Pepsi nor Coca-Cola applied for the name -- nor even to create gTLDs for their own brands.

Applications were received from 60 countries, ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said at a news conference in London. North America accounted for 911 applications, Europe 675, Asia-Pacific 303, Latin America 24 and Africa 17.

Most of the applications are for gTLDs written using the Latin alphabet, the only one that could be used for domain names for many years. However, 116 of the applications are for "internationalized" domain names (IDNs) written using non-Latin scripts, Beckstrom said. The system to handle IDNs was only recently standardized and deployed worldwide.

By allowing the creation of many new TLDs, ICANN has said it hopes to benefit consumers by creating more competition among registries. Critics, though, say the move is likely to create more confusion and cost as companies have to defend their trademarks in many more domains than before.

ICANN is doing its best to limit any confusion among the new gTLDs, said Beckstrom.

"None of them will enter the Internet until they have undergone a rigorous examination," he said.

In addition to examination by ICANN's experts to ensure that there is no possible confusion among gTLDs, and that the applicants are fit to run a registry, the applications must also submit to comments from the public and challenges based on trademark infringement or on public morality grounds.

Some of the applications will be challenged because they are too popular, not unpopular: 213 names were requested by two or more applicants, with a total of 751 applications involved in such disputes, Beckstrom said.

ICANN expects to post the results of its initial evaluations in December or January, Senior Vice President Kurt Pritz said at the London meeting.

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Peter Sayer

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
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