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Good luck ICANN: The GTLD submissions lists

As many of you loyal readers of this blog know, ICANN has been cooking up something new for a while now. Today, June 13th, they released the list of new gTLD strings and the applicants for those strings.

This is really a list of the prizes and the contestants for those prizes, since only 1000 of the 1,930 strings applied for will actually be released next year, and many of the more interesting TLDs have more than one applicant. The applicants chosen will get to manage all domains under the given extension, and registrars like Gandi will contract with them to offer domains with these extensions to our customers, if the holders are willing to sell.
Being a statistician by training, I'm drawn to lists like this. They look like datasets to me, so I'll take the opportunity to run some numbers on it.

There are a lot of rather boring sorts of "trademark" TLDs in the list. These are applied for by one applicant to protect their brand, like everyone who went to business school is always saying you need to do. Interesting that they decided to set up essentially as registries to do so, since you would think they might want to wait and just buy all the important domains with that TLD when the registry winner is picked. Apple Computer (the lone applicant for .APPLE) presumably ran the numbers and decided it was worth it to control everything .APPLE. Google is also a big bidder for its brand TLDs, via its management entity, Charleston Road Registry Inc.
There are also a lot of one-applicant strings that are being gone after by registries that appear to be set up just for this chance, or existing registries looking to expand, like Verisign.
Sometimes it's not clear (from the list, anyway) just who is really applying, but the email address may give you a hint. Charleston Road Registry Inc., for instance, has all google.com addresses, and the fact that they are managing this application for Google is being widely reported.
TLD Pie Chart
There are 1,179 of these one-applicant TLDs. That's great, but let's filter these out. The TLDs where there are two or more applicants are where it gets interesting, since this is where ICANN has to pick winners and losers.
Remember, these were not cheap (application fees were $185,000, with actual costs estimated at up to a million).

So how many TLDs had 2 applications? 115.

It looks like there are going to be some interesting conflicts for ICANN to sort out among these 2-applicant competitions, and not just among the Latin alphabet-based TLDs. For example:

Beijing Tele-info Network Technology Co., Ltd. vs. Afilias Limited, over 信息 (meaning "info" or "message") should be interesting. Or how about Guardian News and Media Limited vs The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, over .GUARDIAN?
Who has the moral right to the TLD there?

More numbers, since they tell a story. 3 applicants? There are 50 of these TLDs, and at this level they get more recognizable, like .HOT, .LIFE, .BROADWAY, or even .HOSTING. Still, some oddballs pop out to me. .YOGA? Really? .MERCK? You would think that one would have only one applicant...

4 Applicants: Now big interests are clearly playing the game; only 20 TLDs, and .LLP, .HEALTH, .SOCCER, and .VIDEO are in contention.

5 applicants, and the number drops to single digits: 8 TLDs, and these clearly are hot tickets, with short and sweet .BUY, popular (or sure to be so) .FREE and .GAME, or .SALE.

6 applicants are going for each of 9 TLDs, including the predictable .CORP, .GMBH, and .LAW.

7 applicants each want 8 TLDS, including .WEB, .CLOUD, and .LOVE (.SEX has only 2 applicants).

8 people want each of .DESIGN, .MOVIE, and .MUSIC, 9 want each of .BLOG, .BOOK, .LLC, and .SHOP.
10 want .ART, 11 want .HOME, and .INC, and the most popular at 13 applicants is:
.APP



I would not want to be working at ICANN this year. Disputes will be settled along disclosed rules and guidelines, but some may come down to auctions. One hopes the process of selecting winners will at least be transparent, with influence and conflicts of interest disclosed, or ICANN may find itself in a pool of hot litigative soup, with contention sauce.