As the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) works to expand the Internet’s infrastructure, thousands of companies are trying to get in on the ground floor. Google has been one of the biggest names looking to gain control of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), the suffix portion of website addresses like “.com.”
A year ago, ICANN approved a plan that would allow for individual companies to propose and apply for new gTLDs, to be approved by the organization for use online. Google announced the gTLDs they applied for via a blog post on Thursday—a list that included: .google, .docs, .youtube and .lol. Vint Cerf, the author of that blog post, was the former chairman of ICANN’s board of directors.
In the eyes of supporters, personalized gTLDs would allow for company and brand specific marketing. For example, bigbangtheory.cbs or howimetyourmother.cbs would provide easily identifiable official websites for fans of those CBS comedies. Sites with a different ending would be equally identified as fakes. Detractors argue that the new designations could create confusion for online users. A homepage of cbs.cbs would be unnecessarily repetitive. At a cost of $185,000 per domain application, companies must decide on their own if they’re ready to pursue their own domains. Continued maintenance of those domains could cost hundreds of thousands or even millions each year.
ICANN originally planned to publish the full list of applicants on April 30th, but system glitches pushed back the application deadline to May 30th. A full list of the proposed gTLDs will be announced next month.