John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Total.Chaos: New Domain Applications Revealed

When the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said it was opening up the Internet’s addressing system to the “limitless possibilities of human imagination and creativity,” it wasn’t kidding. The morning, the group released a list of applications for new domain names it has received as part of its effort to dramatically expand top-level domains from the familiar .com, .net and .org to pretty much .anything.

And it’s quite a list. Among the 1,930 new top-level domains (TLD) proposed are many you’d expect:

  • Generic domains such as .news, .music, .movie and — of course — .porn and .sex.
  • Company domains like .amazon, .apple, .hbo, .netflix and .sony — with a few noteworthy omissions. Neither Facebook nor Twitter seems to have applied to turn their brands into TLDs.
  • City domains likes .sydney, .miami and .stockholm.
  • Some 100 Google-related domains, including .android, .gmail, .youtube, .search, .play and .store. Sadly, no .evil, though.
  • And then a host of domains that fall under the “limitless possibilities of human imagination and creativity” aegis: .sucks, .wtf, .and, .dog, .duck, .fail, .goo, .foo, .lol, .off, .ooo, .rehab, .soy and .rodeo. Oddly, .soy and .dog were submitted by Google. What wonderful new products could the company possibly have in mind for those two domains?

Reading through the list, it’s clear that, like it or not, we really are headed for a .anything-goes domain name expansion. You think Internet domain namespace is an unnavigable mess now? Just you wait.

Of course, ICANN doesn’t see it that way. To its leadership, these new TLDs herald the dawn of a new age of online innovation.

“This is a historic day for the Internet and the more than two billion people who use it,” ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said this morning while announcing the new TLDs. “The Internet will be changed forever. We’re standing at the cusp of a new era in online innovation.”

A lucrative new era, too. The application fee for each new TLD is $185,000. ICANN has collected about $352 million for the 1,930 submitted so far, though it insists most of that money will be spent on application processing. “We don’t make that money,” Beckstrom said. “It’s the estimated cost of processing and of setting aside money for a risk contingency fund.”

$185,000 in processing fees? Really?

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