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ICANN Reveals New Top-Level Domain Name Applications

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

18 June 2012

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) revealed on June 13, 2012, who has applied for which generic top-level domain (gTLD) names, in what is expected to become the largest expansion in the history of the internet’s domain name system.

It was disclosed that a total of 1,930 new gTLD applications were received during the application period of the new programme. "We are standing at the cusp of a new era of online innovation," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s President and CEO. "That means new businesses, new marketing tools, new jobs, and new ways to link communities and share information."

It is expected that the new gTLD programme will change the way people find information on the internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organizations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new ways.

ICANN’s Senior Vice President Kurt Pritz noted that the applications will now be subject to a public comment and objection period, and a rigorous, objective and independent evaluation system. Thereafter, ICANN plans to make the new gTLDs active in batches of about 500, with the first set going live after March next year.

"A comment period begins today, allowing anyone in the world to submit comments on any application, and the evaluation panels will consider them," said Pritz. "If anyone objects to an application and believes they have the grounds to do so, they can file a formal objection to the application. And they will have seven months to do that."

Of the 1,930 applications received, 66 are geographic name applications and 116 applications are for internationalized domain names, or IDNs, for strings in scripts such as Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic.

Furthermore, 911 applications were received from North America, 675 from Europe, 303 from Asia-Pacific, 24 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 17 from Africa. Beckstrom noted that the applications from Latin America/Caribbean and Africa would be the first gTLDs ever from those regions.

He also pointed out that the new gTLD program is the result of seven years of international consultation and debate among a wide variety of internet stakeholders. However, there were still those protesting, for example, against the high fee for applying of USD185,000 and the minimum annual renewal charge of USD25,000.

In addition, the United States Federal Trade Commission had warned that rapid expansion of the number of gTLDs could create a "dramatically increased opportunity for consumer fraud", and make it easier for scam artists to manipulate the system to avoid being detected by law enforcement authorities. It had urged ICANN – before approving any new gTLD applications – to take additional steps to protect consumers, starting with a pilot programme to work out potential problems.

However, ICANN has always maintained that, in a world with over 1.6bn internet users, diversity, choice and competition are essential to the continued success and reach of the global network, and that the expansion of the gTLD space will allow for a greater degree of such objectives.

TAGS: business | commerce | law | Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) | internet | e-commerce | standards | regulation

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