The news officially came down in June — ICANN, the governing body of Internet domain names, would soon begin allowing anyone to buy words and turn them into top level domain extensions. No longer would we be bound to .com, .net and the like but instead we could have a site such as TheNextWeb.tech.
Of course it didn’t take long for savvy web entrepreneurs to start coming up with ideas on how best to use the new open-ended TLD system. One such group, calling itself “The .app Project” is looking to secure the .app TLD in order to turn it into a domain “run for and by software developers who produce apps for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone as well as desktop platforms such as Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.”
While Apple users are somewhat familiar with calling something by a .app file extension, soon Mail.app could actually send someone to Apple’s Mail application page where they could find more about the product. Of course, there could be some huge financial benefit to the group as well, as application owners pay top dollar to reserve their slot in the domain. The consumer (in this case, the app owner) should get an added layer of protection from the .app domain, as well, according to .app Project CEO Matthew Baxter-Reynolds:
“In the world of current gTLDs, such as .com there’s no in-built control over cybersquatting or intellectual property. What we can do with .app is design it from the ground up to protect the intellectual property of software developers.”
For now, it’s all about raising cash. The group is looking to raise just shy of half a million dollars in two stages. The first stage will go to pay for the ICANN “evaluation fee” of $185,000. After that, the remaining raise will go to fund the initial stages of operation for the project. Fortunately, according to ICANN, the shortest time that the evaluation will take is 9 months and that’s assuming that everything goes as planned. That should leave plenty of time for getting things into working order for the .app Project.
For now, if you want to pre-register, you can do so. You’ll have to understand, though, that there’s a pretty judicious process for who gets what .app name. Pre-registration will allow you to sign up for the same domain as another person or company and then it will be decided at a later term as to which one should hold the name once it’s available.
There isn’t a lot of information, just yet, as to how that decision process will work. There’s also the uncomfortable thought of putting your domain name entirely into the hands of someone else where, if challenged, you could lose it. If all goes as is stated, however, it should prove to be a great benefit to app owners and developers around the world.