Web domain requests include .Cialis, .Walmart

June 14, 2012

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Microsoft Corp. are applying for Web suffixes including .jpmorgan, .walmart, and .microsoft under a program to expand the number of Internet domain names beyond .com.

Other proposals include .cialis from Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. and .apple from Apple Inc. as well as generic terms such as .book and .love, according to a list published Wednesday by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the not-for-profit Web-management group overseeing the expansion of suffixes.

The list of 1,930 applications, which had been kept secret, provides a first look at potential rivals to .com and the level of company interest in the suffixes. Icann says the program may result in hundreds more extensions to the right of the dot.

“It is our fundamental obligation to increase competition and consumer choice, and to foster innovation, and this program delivers on that,” ICANN chief executive  Rod Beckstrom said at a news conference in London.

ICANN, which operates under a U.S. Commerce Department contract, says the new domain names will give companies and organizations new ways to structure their online operations and market their brands and products to consumers.

Critics including the Association of National Advertisers say many companies that have no interest in domain names face pressure to apply to prevent their branding from falling into the wrong hands. Each application cost $185,000.

Two or more applicants are applying for 230 domain names, according to ICANN. Wal-Mart and Safeway Inc. are competing for the rights to .grocery. Such cases could be resolved by auctions.

ICANN, based in California, started accepting applications in January. The process was interrupted by a technical malfunction that prompted the group to close the online application system for more than five weeks.

Trademark owners and others will be able to file objections to the proposed domain names, and ICANN will begin evaluating applicants next month based on technical and other requirements, according to the group’s website. The first approved domains may be ready early next year.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission in December said a proliferation of suffixes may create new opportunities for online fraud, recommending ICANN introduce the expansion as a pilot program and reduce the number of domains created.

“What ICANN is doing seems to us to have very little competitive benefit and a lot of cost to consumers in terms of easier ways for malefactors to engage in fraud,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a June 6 Bloomberg Government interview.

There are currently 21 generic top-level domains, led by .com, and 280 country-code domains such as .uk and .us. ICANN has introduced generic suffixes such as .jobs and .mobi in smaller rounds in previous years, with none of them achieving registrations comparable with .com.



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