ICANN Fields Bids for New Domains

According to official lists updated Tuesday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said it has received more than 200 suggestions for new top level domains (TLDs) to join such traditional suffixes as .”com” and “.org.”

Among the suggestions made by 47 applicants who have applied to create and operate the new domains — which includes registering and assigning domain names and handling the traffic to the new addresses — are “.biz,” “.auction,” “.kids,” and “.xxx.”

ICANN has said it will create a few new TLDs in a bid to ease perceived congestion and avoid the many disputes that have erupted as multiple ownership claims are made on the most popular addresses. Each application requires a non-refundable $50,000 (US$) application fee.

Distribution Prize

In addition to choosing which suffixes to use, ICANN will also decide who will distribute them. Observers say winning the right to distribute new domain names could be worth millions of dollars over the coming years as names are registered and renewed.

ICANN plans to accept public comments on the proposals for two weeks, and then select domains during a meeting in November. The new TLDs could be in place early next year.

Multiple Submissions

In several instances, more than one applicant suggested the same domain. For instance, “.kids” was proposed by four applicants: Kids Domains, Inc. of Burbank, California; Blueberry Hill Communications of Palm Desert, California; DotKids, Inc. of Falls Church, Virginia and ICM Registry, Inc. of Toronto, Ontario. ICM also applied to operate a TLD of “.xxx.”

A similar crush developed for the right to operate “.biz,” with five companies seeking the right to run that TLD, including: JVTeam of Washington, D.C.; Abacus America of San Diego, California; Affinity Internet of El Segundo, California; iDomains, Inc. of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and KDD Internet Solutions of Tokyo, Japan.

Hal Lubsen, president of iDomains, said his company sees “.biz” as a viable alternative to the traditional “.com,” which has “become everything to everybody.”

Campaigning Begins

Other domain registrars have already begun public relations campaigns for their bids as well. Register.com, ranked second in the U.S., announced that it had joined with Virtual Internet to create a “.pro” domain aimed at lawyers, doctors and other professionals.

Image Online Design said it is seeking to have its “.web” domain, which already has close to 20,000 registrations, named a TLD. CEO John Frangie said the company is confident that ICANN will award its bid after reviewing the application and finding “a company with a proven, five-year track record of managing a technically efficient and stable domain registry.”

However, Image Online is facing competition for the “.web” name from Afilias, a consortium of 19 domain registrars from around the world, including Network Solutions and Register.com. Afilias also proposed that “.info” and “.site” domains be created.

Other Benefits?

John Kane, director of marketing for Afilias, said his group’s goal is to widen accessibility to the Web.

“There’s no reason to limit access,” he said, adding that 75 million domain names are expected to be in registration by the end of next year.

Name.Space, Inc. filed the most sweeping proposal with ICANN, seeking 118 TLDs ranging in name from “.commerce” and “.movie” to “.temple” and “.travel.”

The deadline for TLD submissions passed just as ICANN holds its first-ever open election to choose five Internet users to join the existing 19-member board of directors. Voting to fill those positions will continue until October 10th.

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