The full list of top level domain submissions was made available today. As previously discussed on the blog, personalised TLDs are currently in the process of being made available in a revolutionary move which looks set to transform the landscape of the internet forever.
Companies have been able to register an application for their own TLD to form the last part of an URL (in place of the .co.uk, .com or .org, for example). There are currently 280 country-specific top level domains (ccTLDs), but only 22 generic TLDs in the system. ICANN’s (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) new openings will create more space for website URLs. The announcement today listed which companies had applied for which TLDs.
The most aggressive applicant was Charleston Road Registry Inc, which applied for 101 domain names, including .goog, .google, .blog, .you, .tube, .youtube, .chrome, .gmail .earth, .drive and .android. By looking at these applications alone, it would be difficult to believe Charleston Road Registry Inc is not Google itself. In addition to this, the primary contact given from Charleston Road Registry Inc is Ms Sarah Falvey, a Senior Policy Analyst at Google.
If the mysterious Charleston Road Registry Inc is Google, the search giant’s applications also include .buy, .free, .game, and, bizarrely, .baby, .dog and .lol. It is battling against Microsoft for use of .docs.
Brand-led TLD applications include .ferrari, .yahoo, .flickr, .playstation, .nikon, .mcdonalds, .bing and .microsoft, and UK brands include .bbc, .guardian, .hsbc, .next and .boots.
Some large organisations such as Coca-Cola and Kellogg previously objected ICANN’s process and joined the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO) in protest. CRIDO claims the new TLDs will lead to a loss in trust of genuine businesses (assumingly through websites falsely associating themselves with a famous brand through a bought TLD). Interestingly, Samsung, which had also signed the petition in protest, has still applied for both .samsung and its equivalent in the Korean alphabet. Coca-Cola appears not to have made any applications, and there have been no applications for .cocacola, or even .coke.
ICANN – but does this mean I should?
In the excitement of the application process for TLDs being announced, it is important to remember that the relevance of them, even in keyword-rich TLDs like .film (another of Google’s targets), .clothing .fishing or .cars, is still uncertain. Nobody knows whether they will actually help SEO, and Google’s head of search Matt Cutts has claimed they will NOT be considered a ranking factor. The generic terms also lose some of the geographic targeting offered by.co.uk, and many are likely to confuse the customer. Rather than questioning whether a restaurant has a .co.uk or .com TLD, in the future you are likely to also have .pizza, .eat or .restaurant to consider. Some suggest that the businesses jumping on the TLD application bandwagon are merely doing so through vanity.
Although the list contains nearly 2,000 proposals, this is clearly still only a game for large corporations. Each application cost $185,000, meaning ICANN took in nearly $350 million from applications alone. Many have criticised this move to commercialise land space, and some have claimed it was merely a way for ICANN to make money.
By looking at the full list of application results, it is clear that many have viewed this as a business opportunity, with companies being formed purely to hold the TLDs. Applicants like Top Level Domain Holdings Limited have targeted a wide spread of popular terms such as .home, .law, .love, .app, .baby, .book and .fashion, and a mysterious Daniel Schindler has applied for 307 similarly unconnected keywords, under different applicant company names. These applicants assumingly have intention of selling space within the TLDs for profit, but only time will tell whether the personal TLDs are actually any good for business and will be desired in the future.
Good or bad, the day has seen monumental changes within the internet. For more advice on choosing a relevant URL and TLD, speak to the experts at KPI.