back to article ICANN snubs critics, opens domain extension floodgates

Global domain name overseer ICANN has shrugged off intense criticism from big brands and parts of the US government, and will tonight start allowing companies to apply for new top-level domain names. For a hefty $185,000 (£119,500) processing fee – a third of which will be dumped into ICANN's legal defence fund – any company …


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  1. alain williams Silver badge


    John Postel must be spinning in his grave :-(
    1. Steve Evans


      The post is required, and must contain letters.

  2. micheal

    So I Take It

    the richest person called smith will get .smith? or will it be done by a raffle ticket type draw?
  3. lglethal Silver badge

    A small request to the techies...

    Can someone please develop a firefox add-on that automatically blocks any domain name that isnt a standard extension (.com, .co, .org, etc.)? Lets get in the cyber counter-measures now and hopefully these extra domains will crash and burn before they even get off the ground...
    1. Thomas 18

      How effectively has NoScript been...

      at reducing pointless JavaScript bloat in websites? Good tech (like NoScript) doesn't change the world, it just makes living in it a little more bearable.
      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
        My production workstation does not have flash in it. I think that the number of websites that insist on flash before operating has started falling since the "no flash" iPhone / iPad announcement. A plug-in wouldn't really work though. You'd need to convince Mozilla to drop all URLs pointing to the new dodgy TLDs, or OpenDNS, or something similar. You personally cutting off the new TLDs will just isolate you from them; it won't stop people using them.
        1. lglethal Silver badge

          Yes but...

          ... if enough people were to have the blocking add-on installed then it would no longer prove profitable to set up your own domain, and so companies wouldnt buy them and the whole plan would die... with ICANN getting significant egg on face as well... Its win-win...
    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      or alternatively

      allow domains through for which people/firms have paid a far more realistic fee to a non money grubbing ( no typo ) not for profit outfit.
    3. Mediocrates

      You could use a proxy on your firewall

      I'm blocking all of Korea with Squid -- \.co\.kr

  4. Thomas 18
    Big Brother

    promote competition and consumer choice

    Yes, either you choose to pay up on time from this day forth, or you choose to find yourself another business.... perhaps on the high street.
  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    URL? What's that?

    Adverts on t'telly are all like "" these days. Too late to get hip, ICANN. Your day has passed.
    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      I didn't know that about TV adverts, but yet friendface seems to be everywhere these days (been going through the old IT Crowd DVDs :) So URLs area all going to change to things like "pepsi.facebook" instead?
  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    See subject.
  7. PyLETS
    Thumb Down

    Time to replace ICANN

    Ultimately they have influence, but no authority over how we view the DNS root. And this particular contribution to chaos spawned by greed will inevitably reduce ICANN's influence. There are plenty of copies of the current root zone they have maintained up to date around, and it's very easy to obtain one. Time to make available patches to DNS resolver programs (BIND, DJBDNS etc) which treat these new names as non-existent and for alternate DNS resolution providers (Google, OpenDNS) to offer these patched versions to their user groups. If DNS resolvers patched as proposed become popular enough, then it will be time for the ITU to cut its bureacracy and improve its procedures sufficiently for it to maintain and serve a root zone which TLD content DNS server operators won't ignore, before some other more reputable and appropriate organisation than ICANN steps forward to do this job.
    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      No need for a patch

      Just feed BIND the root zone database and tell it not to forward any DNS requests, it should then only use the ones in the Root zone. I have done this to block the users I am responsible from accessing certain TLDs (ir, iq, cu, kp, cn, ws, cc, xxx, ru, etc).

  8. Dave Harris
    FAIL So how many internal networks will break once .lab, .loc, .local, etc get snapped up, then? Or are ICANN going to produce a list of gTLDs you can safely use internally (for a fee)?
    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: how many internal networks will break?

      None. It is the external domain that won't be accessible.

      Here's hoping that someone pays up for .local *before* figuring this out.

  9. Steve Knox


    Meh. I expect maybe 500 applications tops for the first year. I doubt more than half that will get approved. As for trademark abuse, when fraudsters can get, e.g, an .ru address for practically nothing, and punters have shown that they are fully willing to accept that as legit, why waste $185,000*? Remember too, that $185,000 is just TO APPLY. You'll still have to show ICANN that you have the resources to responsibly run a registry and a reasonable right to run the requested registry. So someone trying to create a fraudulent registry is going to have to come up with not just wads of cash, but a story which will hold up to ICANN's scrutiny. The REAL concern here is what level of scrutiny ICANN will be able to muster. How good a vetting does $185,000 provide? * I say they should have gone with a charge of $186,282 -- just to keep the atmosphere light.
    1. Steve Knox


      So El Reg has decided that not only can we not do HTML formatting, but they'll eliminate any of the limited formatting that plaintext allows in the forums now?
      1. Martin

        Yes, I'd noticed that too.

        Funny thing is that the preview looks fine.

        [new line starts here]Paragraphs are useful.

        [new line starts here]So why can't we can't use them?

        1. Martin

          OK - now I'm confused...

          (a) it's formatting fine

          (b) I can't withdraw it.

          (c) I seem to be able to post without the moderators checking it...!

          What have you done, El Reg?

  10. Ru

    What a colossal waste of time and money.

    Funny thing, if I say '' to you, it is reasonably clear that I am referring to a domain that presumably has a website. I wonder how many other TLDs share that handy little linguistic feature. Still, given that tripe like .biz and .mobi have utterly failed to set the world on fire, a new swathe of TLDs seems likely to be similarly uninteresting. The worthwhile extensions (by which I mostly mean .com, with very little else) will still be filled with squatters, and the pointless new vanity domains will be worth very little.
  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just shows what the world is coming to

    a third of the fee will be dumped into lawyers' pockets see title
  12. BillG

    Let the Fraud Begin!

    This is the best thing to happen to internet fraud since Nigeria. Like a lot of other people I reverse-DNS all my visitors and block access from non-existent TLDs. But this is going to be a security nightmare. On the other hand, this might be just as popular as .biz .
    1. Steve Evans

      Maybe they could be encouraged to get their own TLD, .con?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Getting in line

    I'm planning on registering the TLD .shamelessmoneygrab real soon now. I just need to convince ICANN to wait on cashing my $185,000 check until after my "sunrise period" when domains can protect their trademarks by giving me $1000 for each name. I'll start with Hitachi, Canon, and Deloitte.
  14. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    How many big ISPs / backbone providers are there? If Canon/Sony/Nike just paid ATT or Sky $10K to add .canon .sony .nike etc to their root DNS soon other smaller ISPs would have to follow just to avoid customer complaints and you wouldn't need ICAN at all. Google and Apple already add extra market domains on their phones - I can see complete separate Android , iPhone and PC internets
    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "I can see complete separate Android , iPhone and PC internets"

      I can't. That network model has been tried by AOL and hasn't been a great success.

  15. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    Buy .whatever-you-want for just $185,000

    Would that be www.whatever-you-want.statusquo then.... Ta-dat da-dah, ta-dat da-dah, ta-dat da-dah... (repeat for ever using three chords)...
  16. Steve Mann


    Because everyone will remember to use blahblah.pepsi rather than

    We've spent 15 years training people that the right of the dot is always ".com", irrespective of whether that is suitable for the site or not.

    We should throw away the phisher-infested trojan-packed spam-canal that is the intarweb and build something better instead of retrofitting it with new formica counter tops.

    We could start by defining a distributed-structure capable protocol that knows about session state.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No 'we' haven't

      I've spent 15 years avoiding any UK companies that use .com whenever possible. ".uk" domains here in the UK thank you very much!

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: No we haven't

        Indeedy, and part of the reason for that is that .uk domains are subject to my local law whereas .com domains are subject to the whims of some judge in Kentucky. Anyone outside the US who has been training users to suspect addresses outside .com should apologise immediately.

        And on the subject of the article, presumably *.idiot addresses will be subject to the jurisdiction of the country of whoever paid the cash. For the average end-user, that's just unknown.

  17. Keep Refrigerated


    The "brand protection" scam for .xxx domains was bad enough (the idea of .xxx is having a tld that can be seperated entirely from the rest of the internet for porn filters; now diluted by company brands "protecting' their mark and therefore making .xxx pointless).

    So why not register the following and make a quick money grab from the vulnerable:

    Just substitute any email, bank or high street shop name in front of the dot:

    .account; .youraccount; .acc; .accont

    .banking; .ukbanking; .ukbank; .trusted; .secure

    .hbsc; .hsbcbanking; .hbscbanking; .hbsbcanking

    .email; .youremail;

    .jlewis;. jonlewis; .johnlwis; .john.lewis

    .wh.smiths; .whsmths; .smiths


    Dear Mr Refrigerated,

    Halifax has recently updated their Terms & Conditions resulting in some reason for you to visit our website and log on to check your account. If you have any questions then simply log on to and send us a message from the secure messaging panel in your account.

    Kind regards,

    Your Bank Manager



    What's really scary, some banks would not surprise me in the least if they picked a stupid domain such as .trustme

    The possibilities are endless for someone who has a lot of funds from previous criminal exploits....

    1. Steve Evans

      Lucky none of us trust any banks these days!

    2. KrisM

      The ability to allow company brands to protect 'their mark' means that they pay a one time fee to secure the domain from ever being used by anyone else, including themselves - the domain won't appear on WHOIS, you won't know who registered it, and more importantly won't have a zone file attached to it, so can't be used by those brands to direct traffic to their main site. As such the .xxx should not be diluted, as it can only be used by those in the porn industry!

      Whilst a criminal could register the domains you suggest, they would need deep pockets - all of the above would cost £4,070,000 and that's just to apply for right to run the registry for those domains. You'd have to prove you could run a registry and then actually run said registry, all of which would cost extra money. Assuming some crook did actually manage to purchase .banking, it would, if anything make it far easier for ISP's world wide to simply block any domain under the GTLD!

      Lastly, and specifically for the banking sector, I'd be very surprised if .bank was not requested, and if run correctly, could ONLY be used by a legit bank. This would mean that if you saw or as a customer, you knew it was and had to be legit, as any potential scammer would not be able to register such a domain. If the consortium bidding for such a GTLD did not make this a cornerstone of their policy, then obviously it could be doomed to failure!

      1. Keep Refrigerated
        Thumb Down

        You were saying...?

        Appreciate your reply but...

        "Federal law enforcement agents have arrested members of two cyber-crime gangs who may have netted more than $74 million by infecting user computers with scareware and then charging for fake antivirus software." -

        I think that's more than enough to cover the fees to register a few misspelled domains - remember they're not trying to fool the bank or the authorities - just enough of the type of people who click on banner ads that warn "Your Computer is Infected!"

        The fact that online scams and typo squatters exist is a testiment to the fact that ICAN'T will not be able to catch them all. "Hello, my name is Ben Nigel King, I would like to register the domain .BNKing here is my $185k fee. Also, I am planning a new social media network and would like to purchase .updates - here's another $185k."

        Now you have:

        This is just off the top of my head with little thought or planning. The criminal enterprises that do this everyday will have much better ingenuity.

        Also remember, like premium rate phone scammers, many of these operations are fly-by-night; a small time-window is all they need to capture some credit card info, or upload a virus then close up shop and the registered company is found to be false.

        To assume this is not possible is either extremely naive or disingenuous.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        "Lastly, and specifically for the banking sector, I'd be very surprised if .bank was not requested, and if run correctly, could ONLY be used by a legit bank."

        In the UK, I believe there's a * (or something) domain that you can only get if Companies House are convinced that you are legit. The intention is exactly what you suggest and it already exists, with the additional guarantee that you are a UK company and can therefore be taken to a court in the UK by a UK customer who is unhappy.

        None of the UK banks use it. Lloyds TSB, for example, use a .com.

  18. Microphage

    iDNS spoofing ..

    > programme will also enable organisations to apply for gTLDs in non-Latin, non-ASCII scripts ..

    What happens when a non-Latin URL shares similar looking characters with a Latin URL?

    "The internationalized domain name (IDN) homograph attack is a way a malicious party may deceive computer users about what remote system they are communicating with, by exploiting the fact that many different characters look alike"

    1. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

      Their searched for in the application process, and it's rejected if it's too similar.

  19. Drew V.

    "The programme will also enable organisations to apply for gTLDs in non-Latin, non-ASCII scripts, such as Cyrillic, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Chinese."

    This has always bothered me about domain names: there are no good reasons why we should paint the entire internet with Latin, ASCII sameness. (The arguments in favor of using English as for easy communication do not apply in this case, because an English-speaker will not be able to understand nor reliably type a Chinese domain name regardless of whether it is written with roman characters or with Chinese characters. If a Chinese website wants to reach English-speakers, they can still get an additional ASCII-based domain name.)

    Love them or hate them, many of these reforms are a natural evolution of the system that ICANN could not resist forever. That they also open up avenues for abuse is an unavoidable side-effect.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      @Drew V.

      It's not about Language, it's about Internet Protocol Addresses.

      IP Address FF.FF.FF.FF =


      ZZ.ZZ.ZZ.ZZ = (676).(676).(676).(676)


      ZZZ.ZZZ.ZZZ.ZZZ = (17,576).(17,576).(17,576).(17,576)

      The only 2 gTLD's that have any metaphysical meaning are .COM and not(.COM) because Commercial Enterprises *must* "know their customers" ... Social Networks like FB deliver 4.75 Network Degrees of Separation (or so they claim) between a customer and another customer and "hold" 1 Network Degree of Separation between their customers and themselves. They are not brokers in the usual sense.

  20. Fuzz

    cybersquatting and brand protection

    I think some people are not understanding the problem this is going to cause. It's not that you have to protect your trademarks and brands by buying .brandname it's buying them at other peoples tlds.

    e.g. Some company registers .hotel, now everyone who owns a hotel has to go to that company and buy brandname.hotel at what ever price the owner thinks they can get away with.

    London buys .london, you own a business in London? best pay Boris what ever he asks for or someone else may get there first.

    1. Jim Morrow

      > London buys .london, you own a business in London? best pay Boris what ever he asks for or someone else may get there first.

      only the very stupid will buy this snake oil. the contents of a domain name don't matter any more. people use this thing called google to find web sites. they rarely see and even more rarely type those domain names.

      it simply won't matter to the public whether the web site or whatever lives behind or or goodname.shitname or... they're just not going to know or care what the domain name string is. domainers and marketing twerps will care, but they are worthless scum. they are bottom feeders who hype this froth to make money because they can't get proper jobs.

      as far as the internet is concerned, all that matters is the domain name string resolves and there's a working web/mail/whatever server at the end of it.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Job security--Yay!

    That's a lot of regexs that need rewriting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ICANN lay a golden egg

      if you stop drawing attention

  22. David Hicks

    185 Grand?

    Doesn't look like I'll be able to buy youremywifenow.dave anytime soon...

  23. Code

    .JUNK boom

    ICANN grosses $200 million .. $70 million to lawsuit defense fund


    .JUNK bust .. investors lose a few billion .. companies have a bunch of worthless domains ..

    World sues ICANN ..


  24. lIsRT


    One can hope it will either be or who get it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You've got problems? Go complain to the internet.

    Up yours, I CANN

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lets club together...

    for .aretwats

    Then we can sell rights off...

    icaan.aretwats of course would be free to the best designed sites.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      clubbing together

      How about *.sucks, a TLD devoted to customer complaints against big brands.

      The rules of the registry are that trademark owners *cannot* buy their own brand names, which in turn means that anyone going to (for example) can be in no doubt that it isn't affiliated in any way with the well-known brand. Thus, the usual "passing off" argument that brands use to silence their internet critics is whisked out from underneath them.

      1. Richard Gadsden

        That's utterly brilliant

        Here endeth the passing off argument.

  27. S 10

    <quote> "What does that innovation look like? Where's it going to go? We don't know. That's why it's called innovation."</quote> This is pure David Brent/Michael Scott.

  28. Dexter

    Oooh. Can I apply for .c0m ?

    Looks just like a .com address to most people, but I can put my SpamBots there. Excellent.

  29. Richard Gadsden


    Is there any reason I can't register .spam, which is only for spammers and sending spam. That way, anyone who doesn't want to be spammed can just block it.

    It makes about as much sense as .xxx anyway.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: .spam

      "only for spammers and sending spam"

      Ah, you mean "only for legitimate and responsible members of the bulk mailng industry".

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