Domain names on the Internet are about to get much more varied and creative. Soon websites will not just end in the few familiar suffixes like “com” or “edu,” but could end in things like “.movie” or ”.lawyer” or “.lol.”
On Wednesday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization tasked with regulating Internet domain names, released a list detailing who has applied for new suffixes, also known as top-level domains (TLD). This is the third major expansion ICANN has allowed of domain name suffixes, in addition to a few others that have been allowed on an ad hoc basis. The new system will streamline the application process and allow for up to 1,000 new domain suffixes a year.
The application process allowed companies to apply for their own brand name to use as their domain suffix name. For instance, Apple applied for the “.apple” suffix. Amazon applies for 76 names including “.amazon” and “.zappos.” Google applied for over 100 suffixes, including “.google” and “.youtube,” as well as “.lol,” and “.book.”
An interesting development related to the world of online gaming is that four groups applied for domain names that would end in “.poker.” The companies that applied for the “.poker” suffix are U.S.-based Binky Mill, LLC and Dot Poker, LLC as well as European-based dot Poker Limited and Afilias Domains No. 5. Limited.
Now that the initial list of applicants for TLD’s has been released, the public will have 60 days to comment. This time period will allow for companies and organizations to see whether others’ applications conflict with their interests or their intellectual property. After conflicts are resolved, there will be an appeals process. The new addresses likely will not launch until next year.
It remains to be seen whether these new domain extensions will become popular. Some companies may be able to capitalize on the marketing opportunities presented by the new TLD’s and other generic TLD’s that could become much more common. In any event, domain names are surely going to be more creative starting very soon.