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Suffix rush: the rise of 'dot whatever'

Why we'll see hundreds of new site names in 2013.

(Page 2 of 2)

Now, scores of domain-name brokers have popped up with hopes of turning a $185,000 investment into a multimillion-dollar payday.

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Donuts, a website registry located outside Seattle, spent $55 million applying for more than 300 gTLDs, including .taxi, .camp, and .investment. It wants to rent out these addresses to businesses, allowing a cab company stuck with to register a nice and simple address like

This land run means even more for people in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. With the new expansion, ICANN has agreed to create the first top-level domains that use non-Latin alphabets, such as Chinese, Arabic, and Cyrillic. In fact, in an effort to make up for lost time, Ms. Willett says that ICANN will review the 108 non-Latin applications first.

ICANN held a lottery in December to determine the order in which it will process the initial applications. The first gTLD up for review will be the Roman Catholic Church's bid for .catholic in Chinese characters. The first Latin-character names will be .play and .dog.

Once the program is running at full speed, Willett expects to approve and release about 20 gTLDs per week. At that pace, it'll take about a year and half to process the initial batch.

ICANN may reject bids for a few different reasons. Applicants must prove that they can handle the technical end of running a top-level domain. ICANN also needs to sort out about 260 objections from various countries. Argentina has opposed the Patagonia clothing company claiming .patagonia (the name of a region in South America). Australia filed numerous concerns over any one group having a monopoly on common terms such as .dental and .music. Australia wants guarantees that applicants will not use gTLDs in an anticompetitive way.

As ICANN works to resolve these snags, Willett expects the first gTLDs to debut in May.

For more on the intersection of technology and daily life, follow Chris on Twitter: @venturenaut


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