The dust is starting to settle from the latest land-grab on the Internet. While it’s not over yet – there will probably be a year or more of behind the scenes wrangling – the claims on the various turfs have been filed. And the results show just how ambitious some of the movers and shakers have become; in particular, the merchandising giant, Amazon.com.
The cyberturf in question are the latest extensions to the top-level domains. The Domain Name System, (DNS), regulated by ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigning Names and Numbers), gives names to websites that enables users to locate them. They are organized into broad categories of some 300 total top-level domains, consisting of 22 generic classes (like org, restricted to non-profit organizations) and 280 country codes (us for US, uk for Great Britain, ca for China and so on).
By far the most popular is com, for commercial enterprises, in which there are millions of websites. This has led to intense competition for names, domain squatting and parking, and other practices. So, over the last decade, ICANN has been slowly moving to open up the system.
In its latest effort, some 2,000 top-level domains revealed here (note: long list, loads slowly) have been applied for at a cool $185,000 per name (plus in case of disputes, up to $122,000 or more). So obviously only wealthy speculators and major Internet entities have applied. And presumably, with such money and prestige at stake, all must have some pretty serious, well-laid plans on what to do with them.
Many of these seem logical. Microsoft wants microsoft, but curiously enough Facebook did not go after facebook. But there are a lot of speculators looking for generics – home and app being the leading favorites with 11 contenders each. Google seems to lead the pack with over 100 registrations, mostly generic.
Presumably, the proud new owners of these would farm them out to whoever is willing to pay. But what is one to make about Amazon? Here’s what they want:
amazon, app, audible, author, aws, book, bot, box, buy, call, circle, cloud, coupon, deal, dev, drive, fast, fire, free, game, got, group, hot, imdb, jot, joy, kids, kindle, like, mail, map, mobile, moi, movie, music, news, now, pay, pin, play, prime, read, room, safe, save, search, secure, shop, show, silk, smile, song, spot, store, talk, tunes, tushu, video, wanggou, wow, yamaxun, you, yun, zappos, and zero, – plus 11 more in non-Latin alphabets.
That’s 76 in all, which will cost them at least $14 million. The catch is that in their filing papers, Amazon admits they will not offer any of them to the public: “Amazon and its subsidiaries will be the only eligible registrants… all domains in our registry will remain the property of Amazon and will be provisioned to support the business goals of Amazon.” (Emphasis added.)
Sure, Amazon might make a claim to kindle, and even fire, since those are their brands. But books and author? Or kids, game, mail, play, video? Does Amazon intend to become the sole arbiter of all these fields? Just how big are their ambitions, anyway? How will they dish them out – will they offer websites to pet writers to give them an author domain?
Amazon’s ambitions have steadily grown from dominating online bookselling to apparently dominating retail sales and entertainment in general. With this latest filing, it seems like the sky’s the limit. Perhaps an aroused public and their competitors will force ICANN to keep them from flying into the sun. Or maybe not; nothing has slowed them down so far.
Stay tuned. And remember, for all your own domain needs, Southwest Cyberport can help. We offer the widest choices available for the lowest price, with free whois privacy as well. Most domains within generic TLDs (com, net, org, biz, info, name, us) can be registered or transferred with DNS service for a mere $20/year.
At the present time we can also register mobi (for mobile), asia (for Asia-Pacific enterprises), and a host of foreign countries. More will be coming as they are approved and become available. However, all of them have different terms, conditions, and prices, so please check our webpage out, and call or email with any questions.
Whatever your field of endeavor, your domain awaits.