July 2, 2012, 10:31 AM

Are .music and .youtube in the web's future?

Amazon and Google lead the rush for new top-level web domains.

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Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc. last month led the land grab for new web addresses, applying for dozens of top-level domains, including .cloud, .buy and .book.

A top-level domain is the term that follows the final period in a web address, such as .com, .org and .gov. There are now 21 top-level domains, plus 250 country code top-level domains such as .uk, .fr and .au.

The bids came as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, a non-for-profit organization that coordinates the names and numbers that make up Internet addresses around the world, expanded the domains available to retailers and other entities by allowing businesses to create or buy domains that describe their work. For instance, a camera company could use the .camera domain, or a subdomain that includes .camera. A company could also use its own name as a domain, as in clothing.Macys.

Amazon applied for 76 new endings, including .amazon, .app, .author, .book, .buy, .news, .cloud, .dev and .music. And Google Inc. applied for 101 Internet address endings, including .google, .youtube, .music, .android, .boo, .and, .dad, and .new, according to a list provided by the ICANN.

The group says that more than 500 organizations in 60 countries collectively applied for 1,930 generic top-level domains. The fee to apply was $185,000 per domain.

ICANN will review cases in which more than one party applied for the same name and pick which, if any, will be allowed ownership of the domain.

"This is bound to have negative long-term implications for those small- to mid-sized Internet retailers who lacked the amount of capital needed to be in the game," says Abe Garver, an investment banker who follows e-commerce companies. "I predict the new domains will radically change organic search results and further swing the advantage from the haves to the have-nots—not just in the U.S. but around the world."

amy@verticalwebmedia.com

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