Digital draw to decide priority of new domain names pits .irish against .london .wales and .scot in ICANN Priority Lottery claim $100 lottery draw begins ‘the silent privatisation of the web’

Tonight (17th December 2012) there will be a digital lottery to decide which companies, geographical locations, business groups and political interest groups will be first to launch their new web domains in 2013.

New domain name endings such as .irish and .london will have representatives present tonight in Los Angeles for the battle to get first mover advantage against other extensions such as .shop .app and even .LOL (laugh out loud). The draw will begin at 21.00 GMT and continue through the night until the last ticket has been drawn and assigned a priority number. ICANN decided to hold the lottery after 1,930 applications were received for new gTLDs – nearly double the number they expected.  As the launch process gains momentum, questions are being asked about who stands to gain the most from these new domain extensions.

Dot-Irish LLC, based in California USA  have paid $185,000 to ICANN to submit their application for .irish and, alongside major brands such as Google, Apple and Amazon, have now paid an additional $100 for a lottery ticket to see if their domain extension will be one of the first to launch. Dot-Irish (.Irish) is a proposed as a new top-level domain for the global Irish Diaspora which will compete alongside familiar domain name extensions such as .com and .ie. Their mission is to provide a meaningful domain name alternative and to develop, promote and support valuable services and initiatives for Irish businesses, organizations and people all over the world.

Kelly Salter, our Domain Product Specialist warns, “This is where the new gTLD explosion really starts. Tonight we will finally find out which of the new domain name extensions get first mover advantage in the race to gain exclusive control of a slice of the internet. After years and years of debate on how the gTLD process would be carried out and thousands of dollars already spent by the applicants, the success of many now rests on a $100 lottery ticket”.

It is predicted we will see the first of these new domain names live as early as Spring 2013. These domains will compete for the first time with domain extensions owned and controlled by brands, such as .beauty which is indicated as being exclusively for use by L’Oreal and .blog by Google.

The process has not been without its controversies. Last month ICANN received 270 warnings from the Government Advisory Committee voicing their concerns over some of the potential domain name endings such as .bible .green and .islam. With applications such as .home already reportedly having changed hands and applicants not being held legally accountable to what was wrote in their application, it is expected we are yet to see a few more twists and turns.

Marketing Manager, Stephen Ewart, adds, “I’m hopeful that smaller businesses being hit hard by the economic downturn can get a real boost by accessing loads of great new web addresses that were previously locked away.  But I’m also concerned this could the beginning of the end of the free and open Internet as we know it today.  Small businesses already have to work hard to compete with giants online without now facing the prospect of many of these new domain opportunities being locked away into an exclusive private namespace controlled by elite superbrands.”

Read the full list of gTLD extensions applied for here.

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