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What's In A Name? Amazon, Google Think Plenty But Not Apple.

Ahead of next year's expansion of Internet domain names with hundreds of new suffixes, 1,930 applications have been submitted to the governing Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The filing fee for each application for a top-level domain: $185,000.

The biggest bidders were Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), the No. 1 search engine, and Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), the No. 1 e-retailer. Google submitted requests for 101 new names for domains such as .google and .youtube but also including .lol and .boo, ICANN reported.

Meanwhile, Amazon wants 76 new domains such as .kindle and .coupon as well as plain .amazon. A third of applications were for only 231 addresses, the Internet arbiter said.

Some companies with huge web presences avoided the auction. "That's probably the big surprise," said Geri Haight, an intellectual property lawyer with Mintz Levin in Boston. "Maybe the marketing departmants decided it wasn't worth it."

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, requested only one more domain name: .apple, not bothering to apply for .app despite its huge sales through the AppStore.

Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), the No. 1 social networking site; LinkedIn (Nasdaq: LNKD) and Twitter, for example, skipped the whole auction, which means their names won't become top-level domains as ICANN expands the current group of only 22 domains such as .com, .org and .gov. Still, there's no threat to their losing their current .com names, such as

ICANN, based in Washington, D.C., disclosed the applications late Wednesday as part of "Reveal Day" to showcase how many applications had come in since January. "We are standing at the cusp of a new era of innovation," said CEO Rod Beckstrom.

Now there will be 60 days for comments. In that period, anyone will be able to comment about the applicant for a suffix like .church, said Haight. Filing a formal legal objection costs an extra $10,000.

If two bidders vie for the same suffix, Haight said, ICANN will see if they can first make a deal, than conduct an auction. Parameters, bidding rules and prices haven't been published yet. Google and Amazon, for example, are both contending for .book.

Neither U.S. national political party filed for a domain name. A holding company, United TLD applied for both .Republican and .Democrat. "That probably means the Democratic National Committee had no interest in the expense and filing," said Haight. "They'll still be able to use domains like,"

Non-English-language domains will also be available next year. As a result, more than 300 applications came in from Asia and 116 alone for domains in Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic alphabets.

Two Chinese online companies, Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) and Tencent Holdings (PINK: TCHCY) will battle for the Chinese suffix for Weibo, a Chinese-language blog that resembles Twitter.

Shares of Amazon fell $1.38 to $213.35 in late Thursday trading. Google shares fell $2.84 to $558.25.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Jun 14, 2012
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