There’s Already Some Competition Brewing Over Certain New TLDsPosted: January 23, 2012
Applications for the new top-level domains opened up on January 12th, marking an unprecedented time in domain history. Currently, there are just over 300 total extensions and only 23 global TLDs (though some country-code extensions are globalized). This round of applications may involve hundreds if not thousands of applicants, and most who apply for their own extension will likely get it, possibly hundreds starting next year and thousands over time.
That said, there’s been a lot of misinformation, mostly about the costs involved. In the past, I’ve mentioned many costs that had generally not been taken into account by most mainstream media articles regarding the new TLDs. They usually focus only on the $185,000 application fee, and the infrastructure and marketing costs to launching and operating a new extension are each more than that.
One of the costs that doesn’t get focused on much is the potential additional cost to win an extension. Win you say? Yes, a single extension can have multiple applicants, and if they are equally qualified, then ICANN can hold a private auction for the extension.
Part of why this hasn’t been focused on much is because most of the focus has been on .brand possibilities like .ebay and .coke. Obviously those extensions would only be applied for by those respective major companies, as any other applications for them would be disputed.
However, some generic and geo extensions are already seeing some competition. According to publicly announced applications listed on NewTLDs.tv, the following 12 extensions have had multiple applicants:
.Africa – 2 applicants
.Bayern – 2 applicants
.BCN – 2 applicants
.Berlin – 2 applicants
.Eco – 2 applicants
.Gay – 2 applicants
.Music – 2 applicants
.NYC – 3 applicants
.Paris – 2 applicants
.Shop – 2 applicants
.Sport – 2 applicants
.Web – 2 applicants
Most of the 3-month application period is still remaining, so some of these extensions could see even more applications. Considering the application fee is non-refundable, bidding could ultimately reach high amounts for many of these, considering the “loser” would already be out nearly $200,000 at least.
It remains to be seen how this will all pan out, whether most or all of these TLDs will go to auction and which other extensions will spark some competition. Note that only one of these 12 extensions, .web, is strictly meant to be a .com-alternative – the rest cover specific niches or regions. We’ll see what other applications come in over the next few months.