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Google Is Creating The Biggest Internet Land Grab in History

Is buying a new top level domain a waste of money?

This week, Google is spending $18.7 million to snatch up territory in “the greatest Internet landgrab” in history. Facebook, meanwhile, is spending $0.

Internet-naming czar Icann decided that there’s not enough digital land to be had on the current top level domains, such as .com and .edu, so it’s creating new frontiers. Starting in 2013, there will be thousands of new domains, such as .pizza, .app, .google, and, fingers crossed, .howstupidisthis.

There’s a considerable price tag attached to controlling one of those new domains. It costs $185,000 to apply for each one, and competition is fierce for a few of the possibilities:

[Google] wants .google, .youtube, .goog and .plus. It was the only applicant vying for .fly, .new and .eat. But it is going to have to fight Johnson & Johnson for .baby, Microsoft for .docs and .live, and Amazon for 17 top-level domains: .wow, .search, .shop, .drive, .free, .game, .mail, .map, .movie, .music, .play, .shop, .show, .spot, .store, .talk and .you. Amazon also went after .tunes, .got, .author, .smile, .song, .joy, .bot, .like and .call… The most sought-after extension is .app, with 13 applicants though not Apple, which popularized the mobile application.

via The New York Times.

Google is going after more than 100, including .lol and .love. Apple, keeping its commitment to minimalism, is applying just for .apple. Facebook though is not going e-prospecting with its competitors.

“Facebook did not apply for .facebook or any other new top level domains,” says spokesperson Andrew Noyes.

 

The company may be taking the wait-and-see approach, to determine if having a top level domain is actually worthwhile. And there may be no need to sit on the name given that Icann has made clear it’s respecting trademarks when handing these out. Facebook will surely object if .facebook is awarded to someone else.

The question is: is this really necessary? From the New York Times:

There is also a lingering question about whether the new suffixes are needed at all. Some top-level domains that Icann has created in previous, smaller expansion rounds have attracted little interest. Many consumers find Web sites via search engines, rather than typing in an exact Web address. Others are increasingly using mobile applications, rather than the open Internet.

If the Web is truly on its deathbed, as Wired has claimed, those spending money on this may be .throwingitaway. Their money would be better spent on better mobile apps.

There’s some bad news for all those people, universities and companies that shelled out money to secure their .xxx address last year in order to protect their brands. They may be disappointed to learn that .porn and .sex will likely be coming out soon creating more opportunities to give a person, business or school an unwanted sexy touch.

Source: Forbes/ Kashmir Hill

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