ICANN’s Dot-Anything Deadline Due Today


Top-level Internet domain name applications close today

Today is the last day organisations can apply to have their name as an Internet domain, as ICANN’s generic top level domain (gTLD) applications close.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, says 839 firms have signed up for their own top-level domain, since registration opened in January to allow companies like Disney to own domains such as .disney. The gTLD process was controversial, and the global Internet management board ICANN has also faced criticism over its members’ conflicts of interest.

Owning your domain name

It costs $185,000 (£116k) to apply for a gTLD, and companies including Google are known to have put their names down for one, and others like .coke are likely to happen.

The local governments of Scotland and London are understood to have applied for domains.  The UK’s registrar, Nominet, has also taken the opportunity to apply for new national domains including .wales and .cymru.

In the run-up to the application, it was feared a gTLD landgrab might include cybersquatters, who contest domains or register them fraudulently, but this was dismissed as “hype” by Forrester Research analyst Jeff Ernst, who wrote in a blog: “Don’t get so stuck in the hype about the risk of cybers-squatters or of someone else getting your dot-brand,” Ernst wrote.

The expense and the fact that most brand names are easily attributable will deter cybersquatters from attempting to get gTLDs, and the overall effect of the gTLDs could be to reduce cybersquatting elsewhere, by simpliftying users’ expectations. Users would expect a Disney site to be on .disney, and not .disney.tv or some other related one that a cybersquatter might conceivably acquire.

Meanwhile, ICANN has held onto its global control of the Internet, despite criticism from the US government that its board members had conflicts of interest, and pressure from the European Union to reduce the US-domination within ICANN.

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