Domains Domains Domains!
Two years back I suggested in a post here how domain names are changing forever and “the need to personalize and customize your domain completely will grow as we learn to personalize the web…” .
It seems like the wheels for this are in motion now. On Wednesday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) unveiled a list of names and applicants eager to stake a claim to a piece of the Internet, known as a domain.
These new domain names would vastly expand the pool of suffixes beyond “.com” and “.net” and perhaps add such new Web address endings as “.baby,” “.sex,” “.apple” or “.google.” Companies anted up $185,000 per domain to apply for these naming rights.
If approved, this would be the first time companies can grab a moniker or product-related name in the Web address slot. ICANN, which oversees the process, plans to approve applications for these new domains within a year or so.
“We are standing at the cusp of a new era of online innovation,” ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said at a London press conference.
Apple has applied for only “.apple” while Google, Amazon and Microsoft have gone after multiple product names. Among many names, Amazon is going after “.book,” “.circle,” “.news,” “.author” and the name of its popular Kindle Fire tablet with the “.fire” ending. Microsoft is seeking to acquire its search engine Web address suffix with “.bing” and its e-mail service “.hotmail” along with other products.
This sort of a change was always going to be a big one. In my view, it is indeed an “historic” change, and one that means the internet will never be the same again if this trend (and it looks like it already has with so many massive companies filing for domains) catches on.
Some critics, including senior figures at Google, have warned that the liberalisation risks effectively privatizing the Internet by giving already powerful Web players more scope to control portions of it.
“Our concern is that this could lead to more Facebook-style walled gardens as big brands seek to keep you in their own areas of the Internet,” said Stephen Ewart, marketing manager for Names.co.uk, a British domain-name registrar.
“Make no mistake, this change to the domain name world will lead to more competition and consumer choice, but it could also be viewed as a silent privatization of the Web – for better or worse,” he said.
The project is a key test for US non-profit organization the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), whose authority to administer the Web’s naming systems is being challenged by emerging nations who say it is too U.S.-centric.
“The plan we have delivered is solid and fair,” ICANN Chief Executive Rod Beckstrom told journalists. “It is our fundamental obligation to increase innovation and consumer choice.”
Nations including China, Russia and Brazil are pushing for ICANN’s functions to be transferred to a body such as the United Nations, in which governments would have more control.
With this kind of change, the internet opens up in a totally different way and this certainly be an evolving space in the next few months and years. What sort of impact do you think this change will have on the internet?
Prashant Harish Hari