Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit organization that coordinates online domain names, made public a roster of applicants for new domain suffixes on Wednesday, June 13. The list has shown that of the almost 2000 applicants, most were submitted by businesses. There were obvious moves by companies like and Apple and Google to protect their brand by acquiring suffixes like .google. Many businesses also went ahead and requested more generic suffixes like .pizza and .auto, while some applicants went ahead with names like .app.
ICANN had asked interested parties to submit applications in January for suggestions and requests for control of new top level domains that will join the already existing suffixes like .com and .edu. The initiative was taken by ICANN to expand the existing top level domains and increase creativity of the internet. The non-profit group has stated that the new suffixes will help not only put online innovation into high gear but will also give consumers benefits by fostering competition.
The move by ICANN has not come without some criticism. The nay-sayers believe that new domains will confuse internet users and will be a headache for companies, business and individuals that want to protect trademarks or copyrights. Some experts believe that the domain expansion will see the practice of cyber-squatting increase greatly. Cyber-squatting is when someone buys a domain containing brand names or popular search queries in order to sell it for a premium later on. Some critics take a different view and say that ICANN is giving away control of the internet to private entities. The Federal Trade Commission has also given a negative view of the whole matter and has said that it believes the move by ICANN will encourage online fraud.
ICANN has tried to calm fears by allowing holders of trademarks or copyrights to review the list of suffixes and submit any objections. The process is still underway and ICANN expects to have the first group of new domains ready for release after one year.