WASHINGTON'S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

The New Gold Rush in Domain Name Suffixes From .com to .doctor

Bellevue startup makes a play for hundreds of new internet domain suffixes.
Angela Huang |   December 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Bellevue startup, Donuts Inc.

Don’t look for flour, sugar and cooking oil in the Bellevue offices of Donuts Inc. You’re much more likely to find people taking advantage of major new changes in the internet rather than plotting the overthrow of Top Pot or Krispy Kreme.

Donuts is an internet registry founded by four men with a lot of experience in the intricacies of internet domain nomenclature. The firm recently raised more than $100 million in venture capital and has spent $57 million to buy rights to new internet suffixes.

That’s right. The world is just too small to be limited to “.com,” “.net,” “.org” and “.gov.” After all, if you’re a dentist, doesn’t it make sense that your branding efforts culminate in DrFeelGood.dentist as opposed to DrFeelGood.com?

The move toward increasing the range of generic Top Level Domain names, more commonly known as gTLDs—those are the internet suffixes to the right of the dot—has been surprisingly subtle given the billions of people it may affect. Subtlety, however, isn’t the modus operandi at Donuts, which has applied for more than 300 of these new suffixes.

“This is a brand new opportunity and it’s really exciting,” says Donuts cofounder and COO Richard Tindal. “The internet is about to go from black and white to color.”

That’s one man’s metaphor and it may be a stretch. But here is what’s happening: There are currently 22 approved suffixes, including “.com(merce),” “.gov(ernment),” “.edu(cation)” and “.org(anization),” as well as 250 two-letter country codes. Earlier this year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the private, nonprofit organization that runs the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS), announced an open application process for domain expansion to take “a significant step forward on the introduction of new generic top-level domains.”

From A (“.art”) to Z (“.zone), the suffixes Donuts has applied for suggest an eclectic mix of interests and/or opportunities (see box). Suffixes using nontraditional characters, such as Chinese letters, were also available. (Donuts has applied for characters representing “games,” “store,” “entertainment” and “enterprise.”) The application fee for each suffix was $185,000 to cover costs like program development and application processing. ICANN took in $350 million in fees from 1,930 proposals.
Big companies with familiar names are in on this domain land grab. Amazon, not surprisingly, wants “.book” (so does Donuts), along with “.cloud” and “.kindle.” Google applied for more than 100 suffixes, including “.google” and

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