Dot-Whatever: ICANN to Review New Proposals

Top-level domains (TLDs) are the suffixes such as .com, .org, and .net that append URLs (universal resource locators) on the Internet. There's no guarantee that ICANN will accept proposals to add a new TLD, but at least 29 companies, organizations and individuals have thus far expressed an interest in becoming the registering agent for new suffixes like .web, .inc and .fam.

ICANN will accept applications from Sept. 5 to Oct. 2 from any organization, and then will take public comments on the matter for two weeks before deciding which domains to accept. Details for applying, including criteria for approval, will be available Aug. 15, according to the ICANN Web site. ICANN was formed in late 1998 to take over management of the Internet's domain name system, IP (Internet Protocol) address number allocation and protocols.

The $US50,000 application fee is non-refundable, which could leave cash-strapped organizations unable to make TLD proposals.

"It's a lot to ask an NGO (non-governmental organization) to pop 50 grand and throw the money away," said James Love, president of the Consumer Project on Technology, a nonprofit advocacy organization. "My guess is that it's going to chill the process."

Love is critical of the high cost of the entry fee, which may discourage more creative kinds of domain names. His group is considering suffixes like .customers, .union for labor groups, and .isnotfair, .isnotgreen and .sucks for protest sites.

"We would love to see an expansion of the name space. (E-commerce) is important, but it's not the only thing the Internet is for," he said.

Conventional wisdom would call such suffixes inelegant compared to simple three-letter TLDs, but Love contends the time has come to get away from that thinking.

"I think it's a good idea to get rid of the fetish over three letters," he said. "You should pick the letters that work for the TLD."

Catchy dot-com names, and by extension catchy TLDs, are valuable property on the Web, particularly as the list of available addresses shrinks. Western Samoa, for example, uses the country code ".ws" on Web addresses linked to that country, but that code also could stand for "Web site." So, the nation cut a deal.

"Western Samoa has given permission to market it (the ".ws") as 'Web site'," said George DeCarlo, chief technology officer for domain registrar Dotster.

Dotster began registering ".ws" sites two weeks ago, and has 1,500 customers so far, with fast growth, he said. "It kind of gives a good indication of the interest in new domain names," DeCarlo said.

Dotster will begin registering company sites Monday with the domain ".tv" -- which has before now stood for the Pacific island of Tuvalu -- and has expressed interest in proposing .firm, .ecom and .biz.

Still, DeCarlo said that the $US50,000 application fee is a gamble. ICANN hasn't yet determined if it will allow companies like Dotster to make money off of registering TLDs. The non-refundable fee could be paid and never recouped as a result.

The fee will offset costs for performing technical, financial, business, and legal analyses according to ICANN's Web site. ICANN is a nonprofit corporation. ICANN representatives could not be reached for comment about the registration fee and the registration process.

Efforts by companies like Microsoft to quickly register addresses which contain variations on its name add another element to the question of what TLDs will win acceptance and how they will be used. "Cybersquatting" cases where copywritten names are registered as Web addresses by non-copyright holders rage in U.S. courts and before World Intellectual Property Organization arbitrators. As an example, Inc. is suing Harvard University in a preemptive attempt to show they are not infringing on Harvard's copyright.

So, who will get the first crack at, say,

"That's the hardest issue and that's probably why we've taken so long to get here," DeCarlo said adding that the issues involved include "intellectual property, bad faith registering, trademarks, and free speech."

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?