.Home, .Love, where’s .Sex? The most desirable domains of the ICANN land grab

The most frequently requested domain name extensions in the ICANN round. Thirteen organizations applied for .app. Only two applied for .sex. Click for larger version of word cloud, and see a breakdown below.

If you had $185,000 to burn this year, you could have participated in what may prove to be one of the most critical online land grabs in history.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the group that essentially regulates the Web’s address book, accepted applications this year for new domain name extensions — beyond .com, .org, .net and the like — and this week released data on every submission it got.

At $185,000 a pop, this wasn’t exactly a public free-for-all. Big tech companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft filed for dozens of names, like .youtube, .book and .skype, respectively, with hundreds of other organizations staking their own claims on new Web turf. There’s a brand benefit to owning your own extension, clearly, but there could be a lot of money in it, too.

If you could sell URLs ending in .corp or .movie, someone would pay, right?

Companies whose applications meet ICANN qualifications have a fair shot at getting their prize, once ICANN finishes reviewing submissions late this year into next.

Here’s the snag, though: There were 1,930 applications for 1,409 different domain name extensions. So there were duplicates. And triplicates. Even octuplicates. Who’s going to end up with the extensions so many organizations applied to own? Probably whoever wants it most.

And what are these oh so desirable domain name extensions anyway?

Crunching the data, .app was the most frequently requested domain name extension, with 13 applicants vying for the name. Yet another hint of the mobile dominance to come? Not that we needed it.

.Home and .inc tied for second with 11 applications each. Boring, but practical. .Art, .blog, .book, .llc and .shop also got a lot of love, with nine or more suitors.

.Sex, a popular extension in headlines about Wednesday’s release (I clearly couldn’t resist), was requested only twice, believe it or not — once by ICM Registry LLC, the operator of the .xxx domain that also applied for .porn and .adult, and again by Top Level Domain Holdings, a company operating out of the British Virgin Islands whose name keeps showing up in the data set, often next to the most wanted extensions.

That one could get interesting.

ICANN is encouraging applicants to resolve duplicate disputes among themselves, but have a few processes in place if things get messy. Look at the String Contention section of ICANN’s Application Guidebook for more on that.

Above is a word cloud of every domain name extension that received two or more applications. The largest words saw the most requests. See a count breakdown below of every extensions that got four or more requests (sorry, .sex). Browse the whole data set here, or on John Cook’s earlier post.

Thanks to Jason Preston and Steve Broback for the data help!

Mónica Guzmán is a community strategist and an award-winning digital life columnist for GeekWire. You can find her tweeting away at @moniguzman, subscribe to her public Facebook posts at facebook.com/moniguzman or reach her via email. See a list of her clients on her website. Also see this archive of her weekly GeekWire columns.

  • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

    While I understand how DNS works and why we have top-level domain extensions to begin with, are we not at a point where technologically the internet can go in a different direction? If I want to go to GeekWire.com or microsoft.com, does the “.com” part provide any disambiguation? Nope. I suppose there are domain names that clash across government/private/education, but not for the majority of them. I think users would certainly prefer an extensionless URL in many cases.