What the new Top Level Domains mean for E-Commerce

ICANn URL ConfusionICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is responsible for assigning and managing generic top level domains (aka gTLD) such as .com .edu .biz.

In June of 2011 they announced a they offer the ability for companies to establish new top level domains.  The process required applicants to anonymously request new domain names and agree to pay fees of approximately $180K per application.  Initially they have promised to cap the number of gTLDs at 1000 (currently there are 22 plus country codes).

For a variety of good reasons, I advised clients not to apply for new gTLDs.  Today the ICANN revealed the list of almost 2,000 new generic top-level domain name applications.  Of the 1,930 applications, a number are particularly interesting.

Applicant# of gTLDs Cost
Google101$18,685,000
Amazon76$14,060,000
Microsoft11$2,035,000
Walmart6$1,110,000
Gap5$925,000
Safeway4$740,000
Macy’s2$370,000
Starbucks2$370,000

Amazon spent over $14M on the new gTLDs, including the expected (“Book”, “Movie”, “Amazon”, “Zappos”) and an interesting list of ones you might not have expected:

couponbuyfree
hotjoylike
nowpaypin
roomsafesave
searchsecureshop
storewowzero

Safeway and Walmart both submitted applications for “Grocery”.  8 applicants applied for the word “Shop”.

Will Amazon get $14M in value from visitors typing “www.amazon.kindle” ,’”www.amazon.buy”, or “www.amazon.save” into their browsers?  Do people even type addresses into their browser anymore, or are we exclusively typing names into search boxes or clicking on links?

Clearly some speculators (at least one of which invested over $50M in this lottery) think the gTLDs will be valuable.  But with 1000 gTLDs how will consumers even know which ones to try?  Won’t thy just type “Save” into Google, or say it to Siri?

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