10 Strange things about the ICANN Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD)


I wrote a very long time ago, about cool Top Level domains you could buy. For instance I wanted to buy the .TH top level domain so that my website could be http://kei.th . Unfortunately, I found out that the .TH domain name belongs to Thailand and they’ve pretty made it very difficult for a non-Thai to get a hold of their domain names. You’re probably also familiar with the .TV top level domain belonging to a private enterprise and the country of Tuvalu. Or the .FM top level domain used by most radio stations including Hitz.FM and Mix.FM, this domain belongs to the Federation of Micronesian Islands. However, as cool as Top Level Domains are, they’re pretty limited, the UN list out just 190 member nations, and all in all, we’re looking at no more than 250 Top Level Domains in existence. *my guessHowever, the ICANN will soon fix that, it has allowed for anyone with about USD185,000 to spare to stake a claim for their own Top Level domains (called generic Top Level Domains). All in all, 1930 ‘bookings’ were made, some for duplicate domains and some for rather strange ones. Leading the pack obviously is Google with 101 request for domains ranging for the popular .APP and .STORE to the strange and bizzare .LOL and .LOVE. Amazon of course, not to be left behind also put in a ridiculous 76 request for top level domains such as .BOOK, .STORE, .READ and .ZAPPOS.

What about other countries?

If you needed proof about the American dominance of the Internet, of the 1900+ request put in to ICANN 884 of those were from the US, a surprising 91 were from the Cayman Islands (I usually think of dubious business deals when I hear the Cayman Islands) , Japan and Hong Kong leading the charge for Asia at 71 and 42 request respectively. It’s also important to point out that the 76 request from Amazon were done through Amazon EU S.à r.l. which counts as a request from Luxembourg rather than the US. However, upon peering into the data I found 3 domain request from 3 Malaysian companies. This includes the .CIMB top level domain from CIMB, the .SPA from Asian Spa and Wellness and .VIP from VIP registry. Good one! One of the uses of a specific Top Level domain is to avoid fraud, and I can understand CIMBs approach, .SPA and .VIP are of marketing approaches and it’s good to see Malaysians companies get in the mix although we aren’t quite there yet in terms of numbers. Remember CIMB had to spend USD185k just to put in the request.

10 strange things about the ICANN Top Level Domain Request

Besides having 91 request from the Cayman Islands, some other surprising points:

1. The hottest top level domain was the .APP domain with 13 different parties trying to claim it

2. All in all 303 request came from Asia-Pacific, compared to 675 for Europe and 911 for North America

3. The .ISLAM top level domain was requested by a company called Asia Green based in Turkey, they also applied for rights to the .HALAL, .SHIA and .PERSIANGULF top level domains.

4. 113 request were made for non-romanized scripts, these include Arabic, Thai and Chinese scripts.

5. The Kuok Group (more or less Malaysian) put in 5 request , primarily for the .KERRY top level domains.

6. Apple made just one request, for the .APPLE top level domain. They’re really walking the talk when it comes to Simplicity. Google made 101 request, Apple made just 1.

7. Amazon and Google will compete with each other for 21 different top level domains, including the .APP, .BOOK, .BUY, .CLOUD , .DEV , .DRIVE , .FREE, .GAME, .MAIL, .MAP , .MOVIE , .MUSIC, .PLAY , .SEARCH , .SHOP, .SHOW , .SPOT, .STORE, .TALK , .WOW and .YOU. (I only counted the romanized script top level domains)

8. Surprisingly the .COFFEE only had one request.

9. There were request for town names like the .BUDAPEST and .CAPETOWN request.

10. There are 108 domains that were requested by just 2 applicants, these include:

  • The .SWISS Top Level Domain by the Swiss Confederation and Swiss international airlines
  • The .MONSTER Top Level Domain by the job seeking company Monster, and the Audio Cable company Monster
  • The .DOC Top Level Domain where Microsoft and Google will duel to the death :

As interesting as this is, it’ll be some time before this changes the internet, if it ever does. Even with the 200+ Top Level domains we already have very few sites exist outside the .COM Top Level domain, and even fewer outside the standard .net, .org and .biz top level domains. This all is just a bit too confusing but the data published does show some interesting facts.

The full list of the ICANN request for top level domains can be found here.

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