ICANN has revealed some shocking numbers for its new generic top-level domain (gTLD) applications. Since the application window opened in January, ICANN has received over 2,091 applicants and collected $350 Million. The application window closed April 12.
It is not clear exactly what ICANN is going to do with all that money, as it is a non-profit organization and is now well over its budget. What is clear, however, is that there will be quite a few new gTLD once the dust settles. ICANN has temporarily taken the TAS (TLD Application System) offline to fix some glitches, but will reopen it soon so that the applications can complete the final phases of the application process.
Top-level domains (TLD) currently number in the tens, ranging from the most common, such as .COM, .NET, .ORG, and .EDU, to the most obscure, such as .WEB. Each country also has a country-code TLD associated with it. The plan to open up the gTLD creation process, which would make more generic TLDs like .COM and .NET, was met with some opposition, but ICANN has proceeded with the plan.
Eventually, ICANN will release a list of the new organizations that will essentially own a chunk of the Internet. Some municipalities, such as Rome, Italy (.ROMA), made their intentions to create gTLDs very well know. Others will remain cloaked in mystery until ICANN unveils their names. The application fee for purchasing a gTLD was $180,000 USD. For those organizations unable to afford the large fee, ICANN initiated the New gTLD Applicant Support Program, setting aside $2 million as seed money for “needy applicants”. It also provided access to pro bono services.