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Insights

The Great Internet Domain Name Sell Off

19 June, 2012 - Source: HROC

Shakespeare once wrote 'What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet?'

Now HROC asks, as Icann look set to release more domains, 'What's in a domain? Would not that which we find by .UK still rank as sweetly?"

  • What's in a domain?
    What's in a domain?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has released the full list of internet top-level domain name requests that are due to be rolled out in the spring of next year.

The new domains will be used as alternatives to current web address endings such as .co.uk and .com.

Amongst the nearly 2,000 requests submitted are domain suffixes such as .bible .casino .sexy and .soccer.

Internet giants Google have applied for domain names such as .google .earth .youtube and .lol, whilst online retailing heavyweight Amazon has pitched for .amazon .book .music and .joy. amongst others.

No Guarantee

To apply for a new domain organisations have had to pay £118,000 to Icann without any guarantee that their bid will be successful.

The non-profit domain organisation Nominet UK, who has applied for .wales and .cymru. stated that more than £225m has been invested in the process overall.

Of the 1,930 applications made, Icann has revealed that 884 came from the USA alone.

UK companies accounted for 40 with the rest of Europe bidding on 675. 303 requests came from Asia whilst only 17 were submitted by African nations.

Icann revealed that 166 bids were submitted by countries such as China, Qatar and South Korea for domains not in the Latin alphabet.

In instances where multiple applications have been made for the same domain suffix a resolution process will be set up that could take months to resolve.

Change on the Way

Lesley Cowley, CEO of Nominet UK, said: "New top level domains represent a major change in the landscape of the internet, and clearly more now needs to be done to raise awareness of the issues and implications for all internet users across Britain.

"Businesses need not panic if they haven't yet considered them, but they should certainly watch developments, and develop a clear policy before the changes take place in 2013.

"In the meantime, having an established, trusted country code - such as domains ending in .uk - will remain one of the best ways to be found online."

Brand Protection

Hundreds of companies and even countries have put in their applications, in a lot of cases to protect names they already have.

The British Broadcasting Corporation applied for .bbc, Volkswagen for .volkswagen, Visa for .visa and Barclays Bank for .barclays.

Some establishments have applied for specific terms which they have long been associated with. The Vatican, for instance, applied for .catholic.

The Clear Winners

The clear winners in the process appear to be Icann who will evaluate the applications in groups of 500, and will then levy a charge of $25,000 per year to keep the domains.

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