As our COO Gray Chynoweth noted Wednesday, June 13 was ICANN’s “reveal day” for the new gTLD applications. There was some speculation that the new market would be mostly like the old market: a small number of players all chasing after the same items. But there are 964 applicants that applied for only one string and the bulk of the applicants applied for five strings or fewer.
Here are the organizations that asked for the largest numbers of strings and how many of their applications contend with someone else:
|Applicant||Number of strings||Number contending|
|Charleston Road Registry Inc.||101||58|
|Amazon EU S.à r.l.||76||35|
|Top Level Domain Holdings Limited||70||56|
|United TLD Holdco Ltd.||26||10|
Here’s a few interesting statistics about these applicants which will hopefully shed some light on this growing trend.
First off, this is a slightly unfair listing because Afilias has apparently created additional companies (five of them) to bid on some names. (VeriSign also apparently is using a separate company for the IDNs for which it is applying, which are all listed as transliterations of .com or .net).
- Nevertheless, of the large registry companies operating gTLDs today, only Afilias makes the top five of applicants by number of direct applications. Of course, we don’t yet know how many other applications are actually going to be operated (technically) by the old-line registries. Additionally, “Charleston Road Registry” is actually Google, which is already in the registrar business.
- It’s worth noting how many of the applications have contention. Seven hundred and two applicants have no contention at all, but of those who do, nearly 400 of them have all their strings in contention.
- Current Internet fashions are well represented. The most common contention string is “app” while “shop” and “blog” are both apparently desirable. Some of them are reminders of the past as seven applicants were still willing to pay over their money to try to register “web”.
- Some of us expected IDNs to be an important part of this round, but they don’t seem to be a very big part of the applications. Just over 6% of the applications are IDNs, but if we drop out the applications by VeriSign for transliterations of .com or .net, the number is only a little over 5%. Seven of those IDN strings (a total of 14 applications) have contention, so the total share of IDNs will be lower.
- At least one of the applicants, Donuts, used a different firm name for every single application. They have 307 applications, of which 158 are contending with someone else.
- For some reason, ICANN continues to use upper case characters for ASCII labels.This makes scanning the list somewhat jarring, because upper case characters are not permitted in U-labels (i.e. those strings with at least one non-ASCII code point). So the list, in alphabetical order, reads “…VERISIGN, vermögensberater, vermögensberatung, VERSICHERUNG…” Everyone on the Internet is going to have to learn to stop typing with upper case in domain names as IDNs become more common, because otherwise, we will have to ask ourselves whether something is all-ASCII before we start typing. I don’t know about you, but I hardly ever think about whether a character is ASCII before I use it.ICANN’s controversial batching program is intended to ensure that underrepresented regions make it into the first batch. Figure 1 shows why: Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean barely show up:
- There was, as widely expected, apparent interest from some companies eager to put their corporate brand on their domain or else to protect the brand from trademark squatters. “Dot IBM” has been a frequent example in casual conversations, and sure enough, there is an application for “IBM”. Volkswagen, Chrysler, Fiat and Ford are all there.General Motors, of course, couldn’t ask for “GM” because of the two-character rule, but Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC are all there. Chevy is too, but just like everywhere else, neither Pontiac nor Oldsmobile made the list. In another category altogether, Cialis is there, but Viagra is not. I wonder whether this is some sort of indicator for future spam trends.
- Even on the Internet, people will have a chance to lament the influence of corporations on politics. Both “democrat” and “republican” are in the list, applied for by a holding company.
- Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there are some duplicate applications for the same string by the same applicant. The strings “cpa”, “merck”, “mls”, “shop” and “webs” each have two applications (with different application IDs) with the same applicant listed. It isn’t clear to me whether this is another “glitch” or whether there is a reason for an applicant to compete against itself (and, presumably, pay twice for the privilege).
It is not clear from this list of strings whether this expansion of the root zone is going to bring with it all the promised benefits. As applications get evaluated, it will be interesting to see whether the list gets whittled down or whether the 1,930 applications were all actually ready.