The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Wednesday released a list of generic top-level-domain (gTLD) names for which companies and organizations applied. It means moving beyond standard .com URL addresses to a more custom approach.
Brands can now have their own string of top-level domain names; consumers will soon have a new way to search for URLs. The process, however, could initially confuse search engine marketers and online advertisers.
Each applicant for more than 1,900 TLDs paid $185,000 to apply. If granted, a minimum annual renewal fee for each name of $25,000 to keep the suffix applies. ICANN will evaluate the names in groups of 500, and could delegate strings as early as January 2013. The process will likely take next year to complete, as the companies and governments will have an opportunity to object.
Google applied for about 100 names under the applicant name Charleston Road Registry Inc., submitting requests for .ads, .android, .chrome, .car, .cloud, .corp, and dclk. The company also applied for .and, .blog, .baby, .book, .buy, .dog, .film, and .fun. Few surprises came from Microsoft. Aside from the company's namesake, it submitted names for .bing, .docs, .hotmail, skype, .windows, .office, .xbox, and .live. It also submitted a request for .skydrive, and .azure.
Apple submitted for .apple. Russian search engine Yandex submitted for the name .yandex. Verisign applied for transliterations of .com and three IDN transliterations of .net. The applications represent 12 of the 14 gTLD applications Verisign submitted. Consumer products goods (CPG) companies jumped in, too. L'Oreal applied for .garnier.
Could these new TLD suffixes change search engine marketing?
A discussion on the forum Webmasterword.com suggests the "limit of 1,000 such suffixes a year will mean a lot of frustrated people when they seek an ending that doesn't exist, yet." Some search marketers expressed concern about spam, while others pointed to organic ranking for URLs with .google in the name.