The group that runs the Internet's address system is revealing a few details about the program it launched in January allowing for the introduction of an unlimited number of new Internet addresses.
So far, 100 groups or companies have submitted applications to run their own domain names to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the group said Tuesday. Each applicant is allowed to apply for up to 50 names. However, applicants must pay a $185,000 evaluation fee for each name they apply for, an ICANN spokesman said. ICANN has so far refused to say now many names each applicant has applied for or give any details about the applicants.
In the unlikely event that every applicant applied for the maximum number of names, it means there could be as many as 5,000 possible new domain names to compete with the 22 existing top-level domain names. But it could take up to a year before any of the proposed names, whether it be .car or .anything, become available. ICANN has established a lengthy evaluation process to ensure applicants have the financial and technical means to run a new domain name.
ICANN began accepting applications for its controversial new domain name program on Jan. 12 and the window for applications closes April 12.
The program has been criticized by trademark holders and others who worry that they will be forced to apply for domain names for strategic and competitive reasons and say it will pose unnecessary costs on trademark holders. ICANN has promised to closely evaluate the process after the first round is completed and before moving forward with a second round.
Despite this, ICANN's board approved a resolution last week committing to opening a second round for the introduction of new domain names. It has not set a date for when that will begin. "The important thing here is that the board has erased any doubt that there will be a second application window for new generic top-level domains," ICANN Chairman Steve Crocker said in a statement Friday.