After several delays over the privacy of the application process, ICANN has completed the application phase for new global Top Level Domains (gTLD). The public’s ability to review the applications is scheduled to begin on the 13th, but Google in a blog posting has made it clear that it made more than a few applications and provided insight into their possible use. An interesting side-note on the posting was the author; Vint Cerf. Although many may not recognize the name, he is one of the people who really did invent the internet, and from 1999 to 2007 he served on the board of ICANN.
Google did not enumerate all of the applications that it paid $180,000 for, but broke them down into four categories.
Our trademarks, like .google
This can be seen as a basic ‘defensive’ registration. What will Google do with it? Maybe just keep anybody else from making .google domains, which for them would likely be worth the $180,000 all by itself. There could also enable certain domains like maps.google, but it is almost certain that they would also continue to have maps.google.com, since there are already so many links to that URL.
Domains related to our core business, like .docs
Again this might be simply a defensive move, but I suspect that there may be a lot more arguing over these domains, Docs is a pretty generic term and would provide Google an advantage to their own Google Docs service. Eventually I suspect Google’s goal will be to provide branded enterprise versions of Google Docs, such as (company name).docs
Domains that will improve user experience, such as .youtube, which can increase the ease with which YouTube channels and genres can be identified
So can we look forward to being able to enter cats.youtube? Here we may have an interesting case of Google not wanting you to use its primary service. If you were to do a video search for cats on google you would get a combination of youtube and other video sites. But cats.youtube would of course get you just YouTube videos.
Domains we think have interesting and creative potential, such as .lol
This makes me wish I had a spare $180 thousand so I could have applied for the .wtf domain. That would certainly have been a money maker! Or maybe not.
There have been a lot of duds even within the current limited number of gTLDs. Do you ever use .areo or .museum or .name or .pro? They never gained traction.
But Google, by comparison, has the marketing muscle and the leverage to make sure that .lol gets traction. They could do this by creating a critical mass of .lol sites and by seeming to give them high search results when people include words like ‘funny’ or ‘joke’ are in the search. That could create the impression that if you want to make a humor site you better have paid Google to have your .lol domain locked down.
In which case the last .lol may be on us.