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The Internet’s naming system is getting a glut of additions in an expansion that is by far the biggest such move by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit that manages the nomenclature. Last June, the organization formally approved the expansion and started the application process for new generic top-level domains or the .com-like part of a website’s address.
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It received 1,930 proposals for new domain names, with applicants including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) submitted applications for 76 gTLDs, including .read, .store, .music, .fire, .cloud, .news and .pay, while Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) applied for 101.
According to ICANN, the program may result in hundreds more additions, including generic terms such as .book and .love.
“This is a historic day for the Internet and the more than 2 billion people who use it,” ICANN chief executive Rod Beckstrom said during the webcast announcement in London. “The Internet will be changed forever. We’re standing at the cusp of a new era in online innovation.”
The current system has 21 gTLDs apart from country-based ones, including .com, .net, and .org, .biz, .info, and .xxx.
ICANN took in more than $350 million from proposals alone, since each application cost $185,000 per domain. Beckstrom said part of the money will go in cost of processing and in setting aside money for a “risk contingency fund.”
Several domains have more than one applicant. Wal-Mart and Safeway (NYSE:SWY) are reportedly competing for the rights to .grocery. In case of conflicts, applicants have the option of either negotiating between themselves or taking part in an auction for it.
ICANN will allow trademark owners and others to file objections to proposed domain names and will begin evaluating applicants next month based on technical and other requirements. It expects the first new domains to go live early next year.
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