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For the entire history of the Internet, Top Level Domains (TLDs) were added gradually, starting from .com, .net and .org. Today there are 22 TLDs, but that’s a number that could soon swell to nearly 2,000.
ICANN today revealed a list of 1,900 new names that organizations around the world have applied for in a new Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) process. The ‘reveal’ event is not the formal admission of any of the names onto the Internet, but rather is the first formal identification from ICANN of all the names that have been applied for.
"This is a historic day for the Internet and this is biggest opening of the domain name system in history," Rob Beckstom, CEO of ICANN said in a press conference this morning. "I’m excited to see more choices for consumers and I'll be excited to see what the global community chooses as winners and losers."
The path toward the new gTLDs was formally kicked off in June of 2011 after years of debate. Each of the applications cost $185,000, though that figure did not scare off too many applicants. 911 applications came from North America, 675 from Europe, 303 from Asia Pacific and 17 from Africa.
Among the applicants is Google, which applied for a long list of names including: .android, .blog, .book, .chrome, .cloud, .earth, .google, .mail .search, and .youtube.
Google also applied for the .web gTLD which is being heavily contested. In total, ICANN received 7 applications for .web from multiple applicants including Google, Web.com, Afilias and DotWeb Inc. Contention for names was an expected part of the ICANN gTLD application and there is now a process that ICANN will go through to determine which applicant will actually get the name.
The .web gTLD isn't the only contested name. Josh Bourne, founder of FairWinds Partners, which is a domain name analysis and advisory firm, said that 751 applicants applied for the same 230 terms.
"The top three most popular are .APP, .HOME, and .INC," Bourne said. "The next few months will be both chaotic and exciting, but once the dust settles, businesses must become more innovative with their digital strategies to adapt to this new online world."