A little bit of a song and dance today from Icann as it released the full list of businesses and other organizations that have applied for their own customized top-level domain names, the first significan expansion on the 22 TLDs in existence today. The full list is here.
In a press conference in London to mark what Icann is calling “Reveal Day,” Icann’s SVP Kurt Pritz noted that over 500 companies and organizations have paid up tens of thousands of dollars to apply for the TLDs, for nearly 2,000 TLDs. They include some interesting twists: the Charleston Road Registry has applied for “.android” and “.google”; Apple Inc. has applied for “.apple.” Two different organizations have applied for “.guardian”: the Guardian newspaper and the Guardian Life Insurance Company. Eleven different applications for “.inc” and “.home”, and Amazon wants “.news” and “.app” (among many others).
Clearly not all will leave this process happy. Icann says that it will be going through a multi-stage process now to decide who will get what.
That will include checking for whether names are too similar to each other, whether they meet technical requirements, and whether the names are geographical or not, and whether they applicants meet financial, technical and operational capabilities to run a registry. More details on the process for getting a name here.
More to come as we continue to look hrough the list and wait for Icann to resume its press conference. (Rather bizarrely it has chosen to take a 15-minute pause in the middle of proceedings, perhaps to get journalists to review the lists.)
As the BBC pointed out earlier today, U.S. organizations account for more than half of the applications are coming from U.S. companies: 883 out of 1,930 applications in total. One journalist asked today whether that is because of the cost issue: Icann set a fee of $185,000 for each TLD application. Icann defended this position and noted that it even provided some financial assistance to organizations that wanted to register for TLDs but could not meet the applications fees, and that in fact the geographical spread was wider than it expected.
“To have 17 applications from Africa is actually encouraging, it’s a significant expansion,” Icann’s CEO Rod Beckstrom said.
Icann will now begin the process of looking at these applications in batches of 500 and it estimates that it will take between nine and 12 months to do that.
Some more details on how Icann will decide who should get a TLD when more than one company is claiming it: after evaluating financial risks and other criteria, including comments from stakeholders, if two are still in contention, priority will be given to the one that is community based. The last resort is an auction.
In total, some $350 million has been collected in the new TLD application process. Icann says this will be used for processing those applications and setting aside money for the risks and other issues that may arise around the different TLDs. As for any money remaining, it would be up to the community to decide how to use it, said Beckstrom.
There have already been some organizations backing out of applications: Icann says 150 refunds have been requested totalling $3.5 million dollars.