Internet name regulator ICANN has revealed the results of a lottery to determine the order in which generic top level domain (gTLD) names will be considered for approval, with the Vatican first in line.
The first gTLDs were chosen using a raffle process in Los Angeles on Monday, determining which will be given an initial evaluation, before potentially being granted next year. The old fashioned raffle-style selection process was favoured following concerns over a 'Digital Archery' method.
Of the 1,930 applicants which applied for the suffixes, 1,000 were picked for the approval process, with the the Catholic Church the first to be considered. This means it is likely that the Church's application for a suffix of the Chinese translation of 'Catholic' will be the first time a new gTLD is granted.
There were no English language gTLDs in the first 100 drawn, with the likes of Amazon's ".play" further down the ICANN list. Others such as ".cisco", ".vip" and ".fishing" also made it into the top 1,000 that are up for consideration.
ICANN announced plans to allow the use of gTLDs last year, opening up new domain names such in addition to the common ".com", ".org" and other country specific domain names. The organisation previously stated that it is only able to process 1,000 applications at a time, with more to be considered for approval next year.
Applicants had to pay $100 to enter into the raffle, in addition to a $185,000 registration fee, but there is no guarantee that their submissions will be approved.
Some have already filed objections to the use of specific gTLDs, with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attempting to block plans for ".gay" and ".wine", as well as objecting to the use of ".Shia" on the grounds that it would need the approval of the community it represents.
Consumer groups have also raised concerns about large companies owning gTLDs. Consumer Watchdog recently appealed to a US Senator objecting to the use of generic names such as ".book" or ".buy" which Google is hoping to register, along with a number of gTLDs that Amazon has applied for, including ".free", ".game" and ".shop".
It is argued that companies owning domain name strings which are separate from their own corporate branding would "privatise" the internet.
Ben Anderson, head of gTLDs at online brand protection specialists NetNames, said that all companies will benefit from the use of gTLDs once the application process opens up.
"Many brands decided not to apply in this round, and of those that have, some may be upset that they may not see their gTLD launched until 2015 due to the current timeline," Anderson said.
"Once consumers are educated, and understand the new domain name process, it will open up a wave of new opportunities for brands to have a stronger online presence, to engage more effectively with their customers and provide a measurable return on investment."
He added: "Preparation is key to ensure you are ready for when the online marketplace opens up to shape your online digital footprint. Those that act early will be ahead of the game and in a better position to defend their online presence.”
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