Retailers and suppliers will start finding out later this month if they have got their hands on hundreds of new web domain names being introduced under plans to open up the internet.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICann) is considering applications for 270 top-level domain names from the retail and fmcg sector as part of plans to ramp up the existing 22 different generic domain suffixes to nearer 2,000.
One of the first Landmark decisions is expected to be over who gets control of a new .grocery domain, with US retailers Walmart and Safeway going head-to-head to win the rights.
ICann, which has already charged companies $185,000 for each application, is due to announce if one or both is successful in the next few weeks. If it decides on the latter, a further winner-takes-all auction is likely to take place.
A raft of suppliers are also waiting to find out if their applications for new domain names are passed, including Reckitt Benckiser, which has bid for .finish and .vanish, chocolate maker Ferrero, bidding for .kinder and .rocher, and Johnson & Johnson, which wants to create .baby.
Amazon has 73 names in the pipeline and Starbucks, McDonald’s and Boots have also submitted applications.
ICann, which has authorised 52 new domains since the awarding process began last month, has said it expects to accelerate it so that by June 100 new domains are being given the go-ahead every week.
“This is one of the biggest changes to the internet since its inception and a golden opportunity for retailers and suppliers to optimise their digital marketing and overall online strategies,” said Ben Anderson, head of new generic top-level domains at online brand protection agency NetNames.