Hopeful Domain Name Registry Operators Start to Reveal Their Plans

By Doug Isenberg One day after ICANN finally stopped accepting applications for new global top-level domain names, we're getting real insight into what some of the 2,000-ish new gTLDs might actually look like.

Until now, few applicants (or potential applicants) had announced their intentions, presumably thinking that there would be little strategic benefit in giving anyone else advance notice. But now that the application window has closed, some would-be registry operators are apparently eager to tout their plans.

And the announcements are most interesting.

Among them:

  • Google said it has applied for (among others): . google, .docs, .youtube and .lol.  In a blog post, Google's Vint Cerf (a former ICANN chairman) said its applications covered the company's trademarks, "[d]omains related to our core business," "[d]omains that will improve user experience" and "[d]omains we think have interesting and creative potential."
  • Momentous said it has applied for .design, .style, .rip and .sucks. The last of these (.sucks) has immediately raised debate among trademark professionals about whether the domain is intended merely to force trademark owners into registering their brands in this potential new gTLD as a defensive measure, given that UDRP and other legal decisions often protect gripe sites.
  • Directi said it has applied for a whopping 31 gTLDs in several categories, including those it considers generic (such as .web), industry verticals (such as .law), "business auxiliaries" (such as .app), financial (such as .bank), social and healthcare (such as .doctor) and e-commerce (such as .shop).
  • The American Bankers Association and The Financial Services Roundtable said they have applied for .bank and .insurance -- "on behalf of the financial services industry."

Other recent announcements include those for .ngo and .ong (for not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations); another for .web; .home and .casa from registrar GoDaddy; .creditunion; and .secure. These join older announcements for a multitude of gTLDs, just a few of which include .gay; .eco; and .nyc; and such brands as .canon; .hitachi; and .neustar.

Obviously, given the tremendous number of applications that ICANN has received, many more potential gTLDs are still to be revealed. If all goes according to (the latest) plan, that will occur on June 13 -- the day ICANN has designated as "Reveal Day."

As Reveal Day approaches, trademark owners and others concerned about the impact of the new gTLDs should be watching these announcements closely and carefully consider their options for filing objections to the new top-level domain names.