Google, Fox, Amazon, HBO, The Boston Globe and AOL are among the hundreds of applicants vying for control over new, top-level domain names, according to a list released Wednesday by the organization that governs the Internet's naming system.
The roughly 1,900 domain names being considered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers go well beyond the traditional .com or .org, granting companies the chance to contend for niche names like .fox, .film or .boston.
If its $185,000-per-name application is approved, AOL, which applied for an eponymous domain name and .patch for its hyperlocal news branch, may switch the URLs for such sites as beverlyhills.patch.com to the simply beverlyhills.patch.
For some cash-hemorrhaging media companies, like The Boston Globe, rights to a custom domain name may help to diversify business, allowing the newspaper to license rights to a .boston to other Boston-based institutions, for example to sports teams like celtics.boston or redsox.boston.
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"The .BOSTON TLD aims to become a new on line identity for the city of Boston, its inhabitants, companies, organizations and institutions, managed and supervised by The Boston Globe," the newspaper wrote in its application.
The new ICANN names could also grant governments more control over domain names -- among the applicants are the French municipality of Aquitaine and the city of Barcelona.
ICANN also opened the floodgates to droves of shell companies whose sole purpose seems to be buying and controlling specific domain names. The Australia-based Motion Picture Domain Registry is one of three companies vying for .film and eight for .movie.