Google Seeks .google, .youtube, .lol in Suffix Expansion

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. has applied for its own top-level domains including .google and .youtube under a program to expand the number of Web suffixes beyond the commonly used .com and .org, the company said. Mark Crumpton reports on Bloomberg Television's "Bottom Line." (Source: Bloomberg)

Google Inc. (GOOG) has applied for its own top-level domains including .google and .youtube under a program to expand the number of Web suffixes beyond the commonly used .com and .org, the company said.

Google, owner of the world’s largest search engine, also applied for other suffixes such as .docs and .lol under the program run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the non-profit organization that manages the Internet’s address system.

The company is applying for domains that reflect its trademarks, relate to its core business, or will improve user experience, Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, said in a post on the company’s blog today. The .youtube domain could make it easier to identify channels and genres on Google’s YouTube video-sharing website, Cerf said. The .lol domain, mimicking the text-message shorthand for “laugh out loud,” has interesting and creative potential, he said.

“We’re just beginning to explore this potential source of innovation on the Web,” Cerf said. “By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse -- and perhaps shorter -- signposts in cyberspace.”

Companies’ Opposition

With its announcement, Google becomes one of the first large companies to publicly state an interest in the top-level domain program, which is opposed by more than 40 companies including General Electric Co. (GE) and Coca-Cola Co. (KO) that say it will increase their costs, confuse consumers, and spark Internet fraud.

Icann, which is based in Marina del Rey, California and operates under a U.S. Commerce Department contract, approved the domain expansion last year in a move to spur online innovation.

The group accepted applications this year for new words to the right of the dot in a Web address, including company and city names. The application process was interrupted by a technical malfunction that closed the system for more than a month, and Icann closed the application period yesterday.

Icann, which has said the expansion could result in thousands of new Web suffixes, plans to publish the list of applied-for domains on June 13.

Search Results

Google will make security and abuse protection a high priority with its new top-level domains, and will work with brand owners on protection mechanisms, Cerf said.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said in December that the plan may increase opportunities for Internet fraud and called on Icann to reduce the number of domains created.

Google will attempt to rank new top-level domains “appropriately,” Matt Cutts, a principal engineer who heads the company’s Web spam team, said in a March 14 post on the Google+ social networking service.

Cutts said he wanted to dispel a perception that new top- level domains, known as TLDs, would be favored in Google search results.

“I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either,” Cutts wrote.

The American Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable applied for .bank and .insurance top-level domains on behalf of the financial services industry, the two groups said in a news release today.

The domains will follow online security standards to safeguard consumers, and all financial institutions using the domains must be chartered by regulators in their home countries, according to the release.

Editors: Bernie Kohn, Robin Meszoly

To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Engleman in Washington at eengleman1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at Bkohn2@bloomberg.net.

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