Today is “Reveal Day” for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit organization that manages this piece of the Internet’s infrastructure.
Forget about the 22 Top Level Domains (TLDs) we’re familiar with today (.com, .net, .org, etc.). All that is about to change.
Last June, ICANN formally approved the expansion of the TLD system and started planning the application process for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
ICANN now says it received 1,930 proposals for new domain names.
In a London press conference, ICANN’s SVP Kurt Pritz noted that over 500 companies and organizations have paid tens of thousands of dollars to apply for the TLDs.
What were some of them?
There were 11 different applications for “.inc” and “.home” and Amazon wants “.news” and “.app”, among others.
The American Automobile Association applied for “.aaa” while the American Association of Retired Persons applied for “.aarp”.
A company called Hidden Way, LLC applied for my personal favorite…”.wtf”.
This new expansion of the gTLD system is by far ICANN’s biggest move to date.
“This is a historic day for the Internet and the more than 2 billion people who use it,” ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said during the London webcast.
“The Internet will be changed forever. We’re standing at the cusp of a new era in online innovation,” he added.
Simply submitting an application cost $185,000 per domain. That means ICANN raked in more than $350 million from applications alone.
Beckstrom defended the application fee during today’s announcement.
“We don’t make that money; we have collected it,” he said. “That’s the estimated cost of processing and of setting aside money for a risk contingency fund.”
He added, “If there is savings, the money would not go into ICANN core operations. The community would decide what to do. It’s been priced at a breakeven.”
He also noted that a “support fund” was available for applicants who couldn’t swing the $185,000 fee.
So when will any of these new TLDs go live?
Sorting out all the logistics is going to take months, at a minimum. ICANN has to figure out which companies can lay claim to the TLD for which they applied. There will be disputes to resolve (Google and Amazon both want .cloud), more fees to process, etc.
ICANN currently expects the first new domains to actually go live in “early” 2013. Various applicants say April or May seems like the earliest possible date.
“As a battle-hardened TLD applicant, I tell people: expect it to take three times as much money and three times as long as you think,” says Stuart Lawley, the CEO of ICM Registry – which launched .xxx in December.
“Every month that .xxx was delayed, it was costing us about another $150,000 in salary and rent,” he said. “It got into the millions. You can imagine [new gTLD applicants] pulling their hair out over these delays. It’s a lot of money without any revenue.”
You can view the full list of applied-for TLDs below and also on the ICANN website here.
ICANN Reveal Day TLD Appliations