The Internet just became a little more like the Wild West.
Ars Technica reports that ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which governs the Internet’s domain name system, just revealed 1,930 requests for new top level domains.
The new top level domains may replace the usual “.com” with whatever you can imagine — everything from .google to .shopping, .sucks or .porn.
Mashable reports that Google has applied for the most patents, “including trademarks like .google, domains related to its core business (.docs) and fun options (.lol).” Although anyone can apply, the option isn’t cheap: “The application fee alone is $185,000, and the annual fee is $25,000.”
Some of the applications compete for the same name. Amazon, for example, followed Google’s footsteps in applying for .cloud, .mail and .app. Overall, 731 applications — over a third of those submitted to ICANN — conflicted with at least one other applicant’s request.
Executives note that not all of the applications will be approved. Senior Vice President Kurt Pritz said, “None of them will enter the Internet until they have gone through a rigorous review process.”
The application process has drawn criticism in the past due to the potential for trademark infringement and “cybersquatting,” where squatters register a domain associated with another company and profit off confused consumers searching for the real thing.
Despite these criticisms, ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said that “the Internet is about to change forever,” and he expects the new TLD’s to create a “solid foundation of greater choice and competition.”