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Many Firms Opt Against Offering Own Domains

Even though they are using a number of new technologies and online platforms to reach voters, both major U.S. parties did not seize an opportunity to obtain the .republican and .democrat top-level domain names.

Instead, Demand Media, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based content and social media firm, applied for both names as part of a program to allow for the introduction of an unlimited number of new domain names launched by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which runs the Internet's domain name system.

After formally launching the program in January, ICANN on Wednesday revealed the list of 1,930 proposed top-level domain names that were applied for by last month's deadline.

The Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee were not alone in either deciding or failing to participate in ICANN's new domain name program. Many major firms including major Internet players declined to participate in the program.

A spokeswoman for Demand Media said the firm is not working with either the DNC or RNC or any other political party in its bid to launch .democrat and .republican. Officials at the two parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"We chose these strings because we think they represent an opportunity to empower people to more easily identify organizations and affiliations with which they want to connect, as well as for those organizations to more easily connect with constituents," Kristen Moore, Demand Media's vice president for corporate communications, said in an e-mail response.

While the RNC may have missed the boat on .republican, the Republican State Leadership Committee, which is made up of Republican state leaders, applied for .GOP.

Facebook, one of the most popular destinations on the Internet, did not apply for .facebook or any other top-level domain names. Another major Internet firm to sit out the domain name race was Twitter, which opted against participating in the ICANN program. While tech companies such as Dell, IBM and Intel participated, Hewlett-Packard did not apply for a domain name.

However, these firms and others that opted against participating in this round will have a second chance to re-evaluate that decision. ICANN has said it will launch a second round of applications for new Internet addresses in a few years.

Facebook rival Google made a major investment in the domain name program, applying for 101 names in all. Apple and Microsoft dipped their toes into the domain name sector. Tech giant Apple is the only applicant to seek .apple, while Microsoft applied for about a dozen domain names linked to its products.

Of the top 10 companies on this year's Fortune 500 list, only Wal-Mart, General Motors and Ford applied to launch their own domain names.

Meanwhile, so far one group does not like some of the names on the list. Morality in Media said it will file a formal objection to a handful of adult-oriented domain names that have been applied for including .adult, .porn and .sex. ICANN, however, already set a precedent last year when it approved the Internet's first adult-oriented domain, .xxx.

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