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Applications for ".yournamehere" Domains Open Today

On Thursday, ICANN opened up the doors for companies to step up and apply for a domain that replaces the typical .com, .org, .info, .gov or other extension with their actual company name. ICANN expects to see up to 2000 applications within the small three-month window it's currently permitting, and will likely not take additional .yournamehere domain applications for years to come.

The first wave of applications will probably come from big-name brand owners who are currently struggling to keep their names out of the .xxx domain. A brand-based domain like .kraft, .burgerking, and .macys would boost brand awareness online for the owners. Yet said companies may be forced to reserve their domain -- even if there are no plans to use it -- just to keep them out of the hands of cyber-squatters or other questionable parties.

According to Reuters, an application for the new domain isn't cheap, costing $185,000 per entry. The estimated start-up costs will be around $500,000 and annual costs will be around $100,000. For the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Google, that's pocket change. Other companies down the totem pole of popularity might not have the additional funds to support a specialized domain, thus could lose their "space" to someone less "qualified.''

In addition to brand holders, ICANN expects to see applications from well-known cities or regions like .london or .newyork or .lasvegas. There may even be community identifies like .gay, .eco and perhaps even .gamer. There may also be applications received from companies aiming to build a business based on new domains.

Stuart Durham, the European sales director for Melbourne IT, claims that the consultancy firm is currently preparing 100 applications for its customers who are looking at the domain opportunity as a second weapon. "Banks are looking at it for online authentication, to prevent fraud and build trust, while consumer goods makers believe they can use this to become more effective in their online marketing and consumer engagement," he told Reuters.

So far only a handful of companies have made their application known including Canon, Deloitte and Hitachi. Others are keeping quiet in fear of unwanted competition. ICANN said it will disclose the full list when the application window closes in April. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate that they have relevant intellectual property rights, and detail how they will operate the domain.

To learn more about the new domain, read the full story from Reuters here. What do you think? Would www.tomshardware.bestofmedia be a bit too long to type (or remember) without creating a bookmark?