ICANN, the wizards who run the internet, announced on Wednesday the list of companies and industry groups that want to win the sole right to administer new domains — everything from .AAA (the American Automobile Registry wants it) to .삼성 (Samsung wants it).
Details are still emerging about what they want to do with these upcoming domains, which include .music and .radio, which are of particular interest to the music industry, fans, and other stakeholders. However, the list already contains some surprises: most notably that Amazon and Google are contenders for the .music domain, and only five organizations applied to run .radio.
“It’s a historic day for the Internet,” said ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom. “The internet is about to change forever.”
Here’s the full list with the “community”-based applications, which we hear ICANN will favor, underlined. We’ll update the list with information about who these people are and what they want to do with these domains:
Applicants to run .music
Amazon: This really is Amazon as in Amazon.com, but the contact is listed as Valideus, which says its “focus is upon corporations who wish to put their brands in the browser.” (Amazon also endorses DotMusic / CGR E-Commerce Ltd. / music.us’s idea, below).
Charleston Road Registry Inc.: What’s with the funny name? We’re not sure. What we do know is that whatever Charleston Road Registry is, it’s also Google. The official point of contact is Google senior policy analyst Sarah Falvey, and Charleston Road Registry also wants .goog, .google, .youtube, and .gmail.
dot Music Limited: This company is based in Gibralter, according to ICANN. Geir Andreas Rasmussen of FamousFourMedia is the main contact, and he appears to be based in London and might also have been associated with something called Exotherm Limited.
DotMusic / CGR E-Commerce Ltd: With a long list of supporters, including TuneCore and The Orchard, DotMusic (a.k.a. music.us) says its “priority is to make the .music domain widely available to the global music community while balancing the needs for inclusiveness and security,” according to .Music Founder Constantine Roussos. “We’re committed to running a neutral, transparent community-based gTLD that serves all music stakeholders, prevents abuses and gives music entities a validated industry standard [his emphasis] that internet users can trust. The .MUSIC gTLD will provide a safe haven for legal music consumption and ensure monies flow to the music community – not to pirates or unlicensed websites.”
DotMusic Inc.: Like many of the other entries on this list, this one has a name that sounds very “.music,” but the proposal actually comes from Radix, a subsidiary of Directi. It’s also applying for a slew of other names like .blog, .app, and the most bizarre idea of them all, .website. Radix does not even list that it is interested in .music on its website.
Victor Cross: The Bellevue, Washington-based Donuts.co is behind this one. The company says it applied for 307 TLDs including .music and .radio with over $100 million in funding.
.music LLC: This one comes from FarFurther, which is actually the RIAA, according to the Sedo executive we spoke to earlier. FarFurther wants to give each .music to the band by the same name, with Sedo facilitating the inevitable auctions that will take place when bands by the same name want the same domain (to the victor go the spoils).
Entertainment Names Inc.: Based in the British Virgin Islands, this organization is headed by the Venice, California-based Antony Van Couvering, a long-time domain reseller (since 1996), currently of Top Level Domain Holdings and Minds + Machines, and formerly of DomainsBot, Names@Work, VeriSign, NameEngine (sold to Verisign), and NetNames.
Applicants to run .Radio
European Broadcasting Union (EBU): The EBU, which calls itself the largest association of national broadcasters in the world, is playing this one pretty close to the chest, but says it wants to “build communities around the .radio and .eurovision Top Level Domain names.” Its director general Ingrid Deltenre described the availability of these new domains as “a one-time opportunity to communitize the world’s oldest broadcasting medium as never before.”
BRS MEDIA: The same San Francisco-based organization that has run .fm (home to Evolver.fm) and .am since 1988, BRS Media has much more specific plans for .radio: It wants to sell the domains to streaming radio stations, be they broadcasters, websites, social networks, or whatever. San Francisco-based BRS Media CEO George Bundy says “.radio will provide an unparalleled branding opportunity to the radio, broadcasting, streaming, multimedia, music, and social network communities worldwide. Online radio is among the fastest-growing segments of the internet.”
Afilias Limited: These folks already run .org, .info, and .mobi. They want to run .radio, as well as .eco, .hotel, and some other new top-level domains.
So as you can see, this is a fairly motley crew, ranging from massive trade organizations like the RIAA and EBU to tiny companies in multiple countries with multiple names.
We still have a ways to go in this whole process, as more information becomes available about each plan. After ICANN approves the winners, auctions will begin, and then we should see websites with .music and .radio domains appear at some point in 2013.