ICANN sets big 'Reveal' on new Top Level Domain names

The window to apply for new generic Top Level Domain names is, as of this writing, about to close (official closing: 8 p.m. EDT May 30), and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers plans to publish a list of names that have been applied for June 13.

Publication, called “Reveal Day,” is intended to allow public comment on proposed new TLDs that could be used in the largest expansion to date of the Internet’s Domain Name System. The comment period will run through Aug. 12.

Initial evaluations of applications will begin July 12. Final approval of the first new TLDs is not expected before early next year.

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The New gTLD program is part of an historic expansion of Top Level Domains, the suffixes on URLs and e-mail addresses that appear to the right of the final dot in the address. ICANN, the nonprofit corporation that oversees the Internet’s Domain Name System under an agreement with the Commerce Department, in June approved a controversial program to expand the number of TLDs, allowing thousands of organizations to request new domain names.

There currently are 22 gTLDs. Some critics have objected that the expansion will lead to fragmentation of the Internet and consumer confusion, and that trademark owners could be forced into registering them as domain names to avoid “cyber squatters,” who would otherwise take advantage of trademarked domains.

ICANN expects that the public comment and objection period, along with other safeguards, will protect legitimate owners from domain-name abuse.

The application process was interrupted in April when a security problem closed the online system for six weeks. It was reopened for eight days May 22. At the time the system was shut down there had been 2,091 applications submitted or in progress, for which ICANN had received about $350 million in fees, it said. The organization offered complete refunds of the $5,000 system registration fee and $180,000 application fee for those who want to withdraw because of the delays.

ICANN said that as of May 29 there were 500 applications in the system that either were incomplete or for which payment had not been received.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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