B-to-b marketers apply for gTLDs

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London—The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers revealed that companies and organizations applied for more than 1,900 generic top-level domains—domains such as .SAP and .insurance—during a press conference held in London on Wednesday. The gTLDs will add to the 22 domains, such as .com and .net, already in existence. Among the applicants were many b-to-b marketers looking to take advantage of what ICANN President-CEO Rod Beckstrom called “an historic day for the Internet” during the press conference. For instance, Abbott Laboratories applied for .abbott; Dell Inc. for .dell; Emerson Electric Co., for .emerson; and Fujitsu, for .fujitsu. Microsoft Corp. applied for .bing and .microsoft; SAP, for .sap; Symantec, for .antivirus and .symantec; and the WeatherChannel, for .weather and .weatherchannel. The business models for these applications remain unclear. Some applicants might start for-profit registries. Others could assign their so-called “.brand” domain names to distribution partners. And many may have registered simply to defend their brands from squatters. Some applicants applied for more generic gTLDs. For instance, there were 13 applicants for .app and seven applicants for .cloud. Both Bridgestone Americas Tire Corp. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. both applied for .tires. Many applicants applied for gTLDs using Arabic, Chinese or other characters. For instance, Aramco Services Co. applied for .aramco in Arabic. Similarly, Amazon EU applied for .amazon in Hans characters. With the “reveal” of the gTLD applications, there follows a 60-day comment period and monthslong approval process, overseen by an independent panel, to determine which gTLDs will be approved for use. Most of these gTLDs, if approved, will not go into effect until next year at the earliest. The gTLD plan was protested in many quarters, particularly by the Association of National Advertisers, which saw the program as unnecessary, expensive—an application for a gTLD costs $185,000—and potentially fostering a new round of Internet squatting. Among the other gTLDs applied for were .beer, .bible, .porn and, in an application that might serve to sum up the ANA's feelings toward the whole program, .sucks.
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