Posted on 21/06/2012 by
Having your own top level domain has proved attractive to a number of the world's top brands, despite the high costs. ICANN has just released its long awaited list of applicants for top level domains, for which there are 1,930 applications. While there are a number of applications for descriptive words such as "film" or "news" (which is particularly sought after with seven applicants), many of the world's leading brands have applied as well. There are too many to name in detail but it is interesting to review them. For the curious, here is a link to the ICANN list: ICANN Applied for New gTLD Strings
The luxury brands such as Gucci and Hermes are there, as are the car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Bugatti, Ford, Kia, Toyota and Jaguar, among others. Sony, Apple and Samsung are there in the technology world and in the financial arena we see Bloomberg, Barclays Bank, and National Australia Bank. Macys has applied but Harrods hasn't. Zara, Old Navy and Walmart are in, but none of the main antipodean department stores have applied.
Google and Amazon are competing for a number of names, such as .game and .search. Google has 100 applications and Amazon 76.
Some of the pharmaceutical companies have applied, such as Pfizer, Abbot Laboratories, Boehringer and Teva. Eli Lilly has applied for Cialis, but not for its company name.
Among the city names, the city of Melbourne has applied for Melbourne, and the NSW state government for Sydney. Noone seems to want Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. Given that it costs $US185,000 to apply for the domain name and previous estimates are that it could cost $US1m to set up and operate a domain in the first couple of years (once examination and opposition costs are included), that is probably not surprising.
So what happens now? There is a 60 day comment period, which began last week. Individuals or organisations are required to show they have a legitimate claim to the domain for which they have applied and there is an opposition period of seven months during which those who consider their intellectual property rights are infringed by a particular domain name application can apply. Where there are multiple applicants there will be an auction.
None of these new domains will be operating until 2013.