ICANN has announced outline details of applications for new generic top-level domain names.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced the applicants for the new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs). ICANN received 1,930 proposals for 1,410 different gTLDs by the extended 30 May 2012 deadline (see Legal update, ICANN opens applications for new generic top-level domain names (www.practicallaw.com/1-517-1618)). The expansion of top-level domains will allow suffixes that represent corporate brand names, geographical locations, and hobbies among others. ICANN has only revealed general trends and not specific details but some applications include .BBC, .London, .bank, .music, .YouTube and .Google. 675 applications came from Europe, with nearly half, 911, from North America. 116 applications are Internationalised Domain Names using non-Latin scripts. There are 230 domain names for which at least two applications were submitted, involving a total of 751 applications. Both the US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co and the German company Merck KGaA have, according to press reports, applied for .Merck. These cases will be the subject of ICANN's dispute resolution process, resulting in an auction in some cases.
Businesses have not universally welcomed this development: 87 US companies and business associations, including Coca-Cola and Kellogg's, who both abstained from the process, sent a petition to the US Department of Commerce in November 2011 claiming "excessive cost and harm to brand owners" and the "likelihood of predatory cyber-harm to consumers".
The system by which the applications will be processed has also been attacked by groups aiming to register new domains. Applications are set to be processed consecutively in three or four batches, meaning that some new suffixes will go online before others.
Source: ICANN announcement, 13 June 2012.