Saturday, June 02, 2012

No joking around: Google applies for .lol gTLD

It's no joke, although it might appear to be. Google has acquired a host of generic top-level domains (TLDs), including - wait for it - .lol. Yes, Google may soon be running a site named Seriously, no LOL involved.

Generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, were first approved last year, with applications opening up in mid-January. These can be customized to be anything an applicant wants, including .lol.

When the gTLDs were first approved, it was expected that the initial round of applications would including branding-based ones, such as .apple, .google or .microsoft, and indeed, Google submitted an application for .google, as well.

.google, and .youtube, which Vint Cerf, Google's Chief Internet Evangelist confirmed was also applied for, were submitted as Google wants to protect its trademarks. Google also applied for .docs and other gTLDs, to protect its core business (in this case, Google Docs). Each of these applications cost the company $185,000.

.lol, on the other hand, was applied for because Google believes it has "interesting and creative potential." Cerf did not elaborate on what that meant, or on what it has planned for .lol. He also did not detail each and every gTLD that Google applied for, but did indicate they fell into four categories:
  • Trademarks
  • Domains related to core business
  • Domains that will improve end user experience
  • Domains they believe have interesting and creative potential
We'll have to wait to see if Google has any "interesting and creative plans" for .lol. On Thursday, when Google made its announcement, ICANN shut the window on applications. The gTLDs that ICANN initially approves will be active within nine months, while others may take one to two years for approval.

Cerf wrote that he is curious to see how the Internet takes to the addition of these generic TLDs. Currently, nearly 50 percent of websites use the .com TLD.
 Cerf has a good perspective on all this: in addition to being Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, Vint Cerf, 68, is recognized as one of the fathers of the Internet. He has worked for Google since September of 2005.

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