In the beginning, there were only a few top-level domains (TLDs) available for websites: .com for businesses; .edu for educational institutions; .gov for government sites; .net for people too slow to reserve their chosen .com address. Since those early days of the Internet, the number has expanded to 22 of those “generic” TLDs and 280 country code TLDs (like .it for Italy, .cn for china, etc.).
Between January and May, anyone with $185,000 could apply to create a new TLD. Applications were taken by the company that administers the TLD system, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). On June 13, they released the list of applications, complete with names and e-mail addresses of the applicants. Some of the more than 1,900 applications are predictable — four companies requested .search, and .porn makes an appearance too — but even discounting the ones made up of non-Latin characters, some are just spectacular.
• .northwesternmutual: This one holds the dubious distinction of being the longest English name on the list, equaling some German words in anti-brevity. Can you guess the company that requested it? Can you? I’m in-sure you can if you really think hard, but if you need a hint, the same company applied for .mutual.
• .sexy: There are two applications for .sex, but the single application for .sexy intrigues me. Sex can be tawdry and cheap, after all (especially online, um, so I’m told), but sexy things can be classy, elegant, exciting. Sports cars are sexy. Gadgets are sexy. Music is sexy. And I’m just going to say it: Uniregistry Corp, you are sexy for thinking of this. Who wants a boring old .com domain when they can be .sexy?
• .stroke: Applied for not by a rowing association or golf tournament, but the American Heart Association. They also applied for .heart, but not .angina or .myocardialinfarction so we know where their priorities are.
• .bible: This could actually be kind of cool. Type in verse.chapter.book.bible and there it is, a quote from the Good Book. I’m sure 16.3.john.bible could become the most popular site on the Web in just days.
• Schindler’s List: Each application included, in addition to a company name, location, and other fields, a primary contact name. Some names were associated with many applications; I was impressed with John Kane’s 48 listings and even more so with Sarah Falvey’s 93. But then along came Daniel Schindler — in three instances, Mr. Daniel Schindler — with a whopping 307 applications, each for a different business. And they have names like “Dash Bloom, LLC,” “Romeo Town, LLC,” and “Trixy Manor, LLC,” all with e-mail addresses of [LLC name]@donuts.co.
I’m sure there’s some perfectly legitimate reason to form 307 limited liability companies with universally nonsensical names and apply for generic-sounding TLDs like .baby, .home, .site, and .blog. There’s a practice called “squatting” for domain names, in which someone registers a domain they think someone else might want in the future so they can sell it for an inflated price, but domain names don’t cost $185,000 each, so I’m sure that’s not what’s happening here. I mean, if all his applications go through, Daniel Schindler is out more than $56 million. In fact, donuts.co appears to be a registrar (like GoDaddy.com or Register.com), so perhaps the company just wants to be the only one to let people register their own .baby, .home, .site, and .blog addresses? This is why I’m not an investor, I never understand these things.
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