On the heels of the new .XXX top level domain (TDL) that recently began providing internet addresses for adult oriented websites (for a fee), ICANN (the non-profit organization that controls the Internet addressing scheme) released a list of additional applicants for other new top level domains. ICANN voted to begin allowing customized TLD’s in June of 2011 and began accepting applications in January of this year. It will still be a year or two before the first applications are approved for use so its no surprise that no one applied for .OBAMA or .ROMNEY. Still, at $185,000 per TDL with an annual $25,000 maintenance fee, I am somewhat surprised that ICANN did receive nearly two thousand applications. For large companies like Microsoft (.HOTMAIL, .WINDOWS), Google (.GOOGLE, .YOUTUBE) and Amazon (.APP, .CLOUD), having their own domains might make sense and at least wouldn’t break the bank. Others applicants appear to be approaching this as a repeat of the early days of the .COM domain land grab – speculating that they can sell addresses in the domain for a profit or perhaps sell the entire domain. Requested domains like .INC or .LLC might eventually be profitable. Others like .STORE and .SHOP seem more likely to be lost in a sea of new possibilities. Shockingly, .SEX was applied for by two different applicants, apparently as an alternative to the .XXX domain although this seems a questionable move as the .XXX domain has reportedly not taken off as some had predicted. There are a few other questionable TDL’s on the applied-for list. Trademark owners and others who object to an applied-for TDL have 60 days to object.
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