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June 14, 2012

Read'em and .Weep: New gTLD Branding and Naming Proposals are Out

We're all waking up today to the reality of the new ICANN top level domain name proposals. And despite the fact that this will add confusion to the Internet, we can be sure that things are changing.

The new gTLDs might change the character of the Internet altogether. Amazon wants ".joy" while Google wants ".love" and L'Oreal wants ".beauty." Google also went for ".hangout, .here, .inc, .kid, .lol and .music" just to add to the insanity.

newgtld.jpgBig technology names like Google, Microsoft and Amazon are the most active and appear to have big plans for new gTLDs.

Amazon also applied for a number of interesting gTLDs, including ".tunes, .app, .author, .aws, .book, .bot, .buy, .call, .circle, .cloud, .coupon, .deal, .dev, .fast, .free, .game and .play."

There turned out to be 1,930 proposals for 1,409 different suffixes. Most of the proposals came from North America and Europe with only a hundred or so in non-English characters.

Months remain before any of this will take hold and of course nay-sayers point out that while having an interesting suffix is quaint and cute, the fact is that users find stuff on the Internet using Google. They don't type in a suffix or company name into the URL line.

Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People For Internet Responsibility said, "One thing that's going to occur is a lot of money is going to get sucked out of the ecosystem... The cost is billions and billions of dollars with no value returned to people and an enormous capacity for confusion."

Big brands who own suffixes like ".app" will be able to say who gets to use the suffix, causing suffix owners to be essentially gatekeepers. Yet this might be a smidge overblown. Apple only wanted ".apple" and Facebook didn't want any: "It was Amazon that bid for '.like' - the famous button on Facebook that lets users recommend links and brands to friends."

This last piece of news is a relief for me. It shows that not every major company is going to drink this ridiculous .Kool-Aid.

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Posted by William Lozito at June 14, 2012 8:56 AM
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