Forget .com, here come .pizza and .lol

Despite protests, companies with $185,000 to spare have applied for new domain suffixes – and some of them are downright weird.

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    ICANN President and Chief Executive Rod Beckstrom and Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President, discuss expanding the number of domain name suffixes at a London press conference. ICANN will soon be controlled by a new group of global stakeholders.
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What do Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all have in common, besides billions of dollars in yearly revenue? Their websites end in “.com.” But the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced Wednesday that these four companies, plus hundreds more, are looking for more unique suffixes.

Companies like Wal-Mart and Banana Republic shelled out the $185,000 it cost to apply, according to The Washington Post, to nab “.walmart” and “.bananarepublic.” But some of the applications cited more unexpected suffixes, including “.sexy,” “.pizza,” and “.lol.” 

“The remaining applications represent a wide variety of generic domain strings that are designed to simplify Internet navigation by helping users discover focused, easily identifiable content,” registry provider Afilias, owner of “.info,” “.mobi,” and “.pro,” said in a press release. “We couldn’t be more excited about the growth that all of these new domain names will bring to the Internet in the years ahead.” 

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Four companies will battle it out for “.pizza,” according to a list of suffix proposals released by ICANN – Foggy Moon, LLC, Asiamix Digital Limited, Uniregistry, Corp., and Top Level Domain Holdings Limited.

Some brand marketing companies also hopped on the bandwagon – lighting and video manufacturer ProMark Brands Inc. requested “.ketchup.”

Some big companies were absent from the list, such as Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble. They were among 40 companies and 40 associations that signed a petition in November against ICANN’s program. The group calls itself Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO).

“If the ICANN program proceeds, CRIDO firmly believes, the loss of trust in Internet transactions will be substantial,” the petition stated. “In addition, the for profit and non-profit brand community will suffer from billions of dollars in unnecessary expenditures – money that could be better invested in product improvements, capital expenditures and job creation.” 

Ford Motors and Samsung signed the petition, but applied for new domains anyway. Ford is looking to get “.ford” and “.lincoln,” while Samsung wants “.samsung” and the Korean equivalent.

ICANN is hoping to “make the new domains live in batches of about 500, with the first set going live some time after March 2013,” according to BBC.

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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