The ICANN process for new TLDs, in brief:
There were 4 categories for applications: Brand (for owners of trademarked brands), Geography (by a city, state, etc.), IDN (non-Latin alphabet), and General (all else). For each new TLD application, there was a $185,000 application fee due to ICANN. (Adding to that the costs of preparing and managing an application, any application’s cost was, for even the most thrifty, more than $250,000.) If two or more applicants had applications accepted by ICANN for the same gTLD string, an auction managed by ICANN would ensue unless the contending parties could agree on a deal beforehand. Yes, there are a number of contested strings, and applicants are negotiating now, with ICANN to step in soon.
As far as who the more committed applicants were, Google applied for 100 new gTLDs, Amazon for 75, and a well financed startup, Donuts, applied for 306.
The scuttlebutt is that the right to “own” and manage some of the new gTLDs has already been valued at over $10 million each, which shouldn’t be too surprising in that single dot-com domain names have sold for more than $10 million.
Many applicants filed for just a single TLD. As best can be inferred, no applications were filed by Apple, Wells Fargo, Starbucks, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Proctor & Gamble, and many other large name brand companies. Especially in the “branded” segment, it’s apparent there is diversity of thought when it comes to new TLDs. Only time will tell and it will be interesting to see how brands’ use of the names evolves over the next couple of years.
One thing is certain: all these new TLDs are the foundation of a new Full Employment Act for IP lawyers and litigators.
Here’s a spreadsheet with the accepted TLD applicants*:
*Information from a reliable source and believed to be accurate, but not warranted.