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Application Cost

At $185,000 per application (plus additional costs) it has not been a cheap exercise to apply for a domain extension.

While in one sense, it can be argued that this is an absolute bargain price for ownership of certain strings (in the absense of other contenders) on the other hand, only very wealthy companies can afford to lodge an application.

The applicants had to go through a lengthy process to evaluate their technical, legal and financial ability to establish and operate a domain registry. Running a registry is a very profound responsibility. ICANN developed a thorough, lengthy and comprehensive evaluation program seeking to cover all eventualities so that all registrars and registrants using the service are as protected as possible into the future.

Multiple Applicants

One of the biggest challenges in the domain string allocation process concerns the dilemma of what to do when there are multiple applicants for the same extension.

And even more so than with the initial applications, the financial resources of the applicants becomes a decisive factor in who will win (in the case of generic domains).

(Other factors apply in certain categories of domains. For example, applicants for regional domains such as .africa need to demonstrate substantial support from the people and governments of that continent.)

So the competition for control over the new strings will be fierce. For example, at the start of the process, there were eight applications for .music and eleven for .home. (In the interim, a few applicants for a range of domains began withdrawing from the process).

ICANN is allowing applicants to negotiate amongst themselves to assemble deals about who will own each string. If this fails, then the domain extension may go to private auction.

This is sure to be interesting given the size and wealth of many of the applications, take Google for example.





The Domain Applications

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has two primary goals — to ensure the internet is stable and unified, and to promote & oversee growth and competition in the domain name system.

As at 2013, the number of registered domains in all categories is approaching 250 million, and annual growth is running at somewhere like 12%. Obviously, with a limited number of extensions, the world needs more domains.

Under ICANN's new TLD program, more than 1,000 new domain extensions will launch in the next few years. A comprehensive range of hundreds of new domain options will join the current limited list. This dramatic explosion of naming possibilities will change the internet forever, though nobody knows to what degree.

The new domains will significantly expand the naming spectrum. Given that the number of meaningful, intuitive domains is very finite, it has been increasingly difficult for individuals and companies to acquire domains for their websites. But under the new paradigm, millions of new domain names will be made available subject to various factors.

There are numerous obstacles to be overcome before the new domains become a reality. Some of these factors, for example the "sensitivity" of certain strings such as .kids, are highlighted on the Controversy page.

The Categories

Generic TLDs

Prior to 2013 and the dawn of the new generics, there were only 22 generic TLDs. That is about to change in a big way with the introduction of possibly more than 600 new options. An opportunity is emerging for fast thinking companies to conceive of and acquire a modern and premium domain name.

Until the rollout begins, most domains had most of their meaning on the left of the dot — that is, in a domain like for example, the essential meaning is "smart phones" while the "com" serves a different purpose more concerned with things like authority and navigation. Of course, other extensions like .info have some direct meaning on the right of the dot, domains like

This looks set to change. Soon, countless domains will appear in which half the meaning has jumped to the right of the dot. To continue with the phones example, you will soon see domains like

Everyone loves short, meaningful and memorable domains, so these new domains are likely to be reasonably successful and popular in many niches. Continuing with the "phone" example, lots of new domains like,,,,, and will materialize on the web.

Here are some examples of what will likely be some of the most popular new strings:

.movie .game .blog .cloud .baby .shop .llc .corp .video .web .home .app .sale .tech .gmbh .vip .book .style .inc .free .auto .flowers .search .health .restaurant .chat .mail

The major commercial and media categories are amply covered, and other broad, non-specific strings like .web offer countless naming options in all categories.

There is one huge controversy looming that involves the new generic top level domains — the possibility of closed registries. Certain companies want to own and operate entire domain strings on common dictionary words and exclude their competitors from the space. This is discussed in detail on the Controversy page, and the GAC is currently considering this critical issue.

More info about the GAC can be found on the ICANN website.

More info about the GAC objections to closed gTLDs and other problems can be seen in the Beijing Communiqué (PDF).

Brand TLDs

The dot brand applications are based on trademarks owned by many of the world's greatest corporations. The vast majority will be approved without objection and the brand domains will take their place serving both the corporations themselves and their customers who will have an improved and safer online experience.

For consumers, it will become much easier to find an authentic site for information and purchasing, and the word "trust" is a frequent expression found in many of the dot brand applications. Since it will be a closed registry, visiting any dot brand site such as will be guaranteed trustworthy since it will be technically impossible for fraudsters to implement a ".canon" domain name. Consumers will quickly learn to make this distinction.

Dot brand = authentic

There are however, a few cases in which serious objections have been made to dot brand applications. Notably, objections have been made to the applications for .amazon and .patagonia by the two respective companies who have trademarks on those terms. The grounds are that the words are geographical terms and the residents of those two South American regions have a fundamental prior human right to use of those words. (Amazon and Patagonia, the companies, wish to operate the two strings as exclusive, closed registries).

The objections come from the powerful Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) who take advice from various constituents and in turn advise ICANN on behalf of world governments. ICANN is obliged to take notice of GAC advice and some sort of agreement must be arrived at through negotiation. (What happens to that negotiation if it is inconclusive is beyond the scope of this website).

The applications for .amazon and .patagonia are likely to be rejected. That seems fair and reasonable — the two companies took the names of those pre-existing regions to leverage their pre-existing glamor and prestige, and are now seeking to exclude them from their own heritage. That would be an injustice.

More info about the GAC objections to .amazon and .patagonia can be seen in the Beijing Communiqué (PDF).

City TLDs

The city (and region) TLDs look set to become reality with relatively few hurdles. Since they will be administered and regulated by the city authorities themselves, who of course have the undisputed moral right to control their own domain strings, they should proceed without controversy.

It is expected that the city domains will function in a broadly similar way to the existing 280 country code domain strings.



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Domain Name Explosion — More than 1,000 new domain name extensions will start launching in late 2013.


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