Icann reveals new internet top-level domain name claims

Image caption,
Icann has received applications for .music, .miami, .insurance and .online among others

US-based organisations accounted for nearly half of all applications for new net address endings, according to the body in charge of the expansion.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) said it had received 884 requests for new suffixes from the US, out of a total of 1,930.

By contrast there have been 40 such applications from the UK, 303 from the Asia-Pacific region and 17 from Africa.

Details of who applied for what will be revealed in London later.

Ahead of the press conference, Icann also revealed that 166 of the claims were for what it termed "internationalised domain names" - generic top-level-domains (gTLDs) that are not in the Latin alphabet.

"That means that if you're a person living in China or in somewhere in India then you might have the opportunity to use the internet purely in your native script," Icann's president and chief executive, Rod Beckstrom, told the BBC.

"It's going to make the internet more approachable for people. Also we're seeing a trend on mobile devices to people liking short names and there will be opportunities for shorter names here, just because what was previously a second-level name now becomes first-level."

An example of this would be if the web address www.canon.com/products switched to www.products.canon.

Generic names

The Japanese camera maker is just one of several organisations to have confirmed it has paid the $185,000 (£118,800) fee to take part in the application process.

The not-for-profit .uk domain name manager Nominet has also revealed it had applied to run .wales and .cymru while Google said it had applied for .google, .youtube and .lol.

Other less well-known bodies are also taking advantage of the move.

The firm Top Level Domain Holdings has spent more than $13.5m applying for 92 applications on itself and clients. These include claims for .hotel, .cricket, .london and .music.

Dubai-based Directi told the BBC it had also applied for 31 "mass market" gTLDs including .law, .bank and .baby.

Conflicting claims

Organisations face a minimum $25,000 annual renewal charge to keep their suffix, but not all applications will succeed.

"Community-based applications" - those from trade associations or other organisations representing recognised, sizeable groupings - will take precedence over "standard applications" - those from stand-alone businesses and others.

So for instance, if PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and the Grocery Manufacturers of America have all applied for .cola, the GMA should be given priority.

If two or more applicants of equal status have requested the same name a resolution process is triggered.

"We would notify them that they have been approved and who else has been approved and say they have 60 days to go figure out how they are going to resolve this," said Mr Beckstrom.

"If they don't resolve this in 60 days then we are going to put it up for auction where each of them can bid for the term. The proceeds of that auction will go to a new charitable or non-profitable entity."

The process has proved controversial. 87 companies and business associations sent a petition to the US Department of Commerce last year claiming "excessive cost and harm to brand owners" and the "likelihood of predatory cyber harm to consumers".

But it will take a while to find out if such fears prove true.

Because of the volume of requests Icann plans to divide and evaluate the applications in batches of about 500.

It says the first is expected to go live some time between April and June 2013.

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