It’s Official: Only Two People are Interested in Sex

Amazon and Google are battling over you. Safeway and Walmart are in virtual conflict. And apps are better than sex or shopping.

Those are just some of the lessons we’ve learned with the publication of the applications for new top level domains. As we covered earlier this week, there have been just short of 2,000 applications (each with a $185,000 registration fee.) We now know that there are a total of 209 domains (or “strings”) with multiple applicants, meaning that the rival applicants must reach a private agreement or be forced into an auction process.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that only two applicants, Internet Marketing Solutions Limited and ICM Registry, have bid for the .sex domain. It may be that many potential bidders assumed they wouldn’t have the cash to win an “inevitable” auction and chose not to risk wasting the application fee.

The other big story is that .app was by far the most contested domain, with 13 bidders. That put it ahead of .home and .inc on 11, .art on 10 and .llc and .blog, .book and .shop on 9. There were eight bidders for .design and .movie, while seven applicants were after .cloud, .hotel, .ltd, .love, mail, .music, .news and .web.

Among those with six applicants was .cpa, which may make for some interesting calculations about how much to bid at any auction, and .gmbh which is the German initials for a limited corporation.

Two companies applied for .dot, so hopefully the Slashdot site will take the opportunity to have articles located at “slashdot dot dot slash” etc.

Several bidders got lucky, with potentially valuable names that only received a single bid including .education, .engineer, .engineering, .fail, .finance, .financial, .flights, .games, .healthcare, .hospital, .hotels, .international, .investments (nobody took investment), .islam, .lifeinsurance, .loan, .medical, .photo, .pictures, .porn, .space, .tax, .technology, .trade, .weather (taken by the Weather Channel) and .wiki. In each case the bidder will get the name as long as they pass further financial and legal checks.

Amazon is the surprise player, having picked up .joy and .like unopposed; it’s also battling for .kids, .news and .talk. It’s also in perhaps the highest profile battle, a head-to-head contest with Google for the rights to operate .you. Another similar contest sees Sainsburys and Wal-Mart fighting over .grocery.

On a more lowbrow note, while one firm picked up .fail and another got .wtf, there’ll be contests for both .lol and .sucks.

The prospect of legal checks over trademarks seems to have seen off any dubious challenges, with most major firms getting “their” names unopposed: indeed, Google won’t even have to argue over .android. One trademark battle that was perhaps inevitable will come with American firm Merck and Co and Germany’s Merck KcGaA. The former was created after the US government “confiscated” the intellectual property of the latter after World War 1. The two firms have already been in skirmishes over online addresses, which will no doubt continue now both have applied for .merck.

Microsoft has joined two domain registries in bidding for control of .live. In this situation, the word “live” will likely be seen as too generic for Microsoft’s relevant trademarks to make it the automatic winner.

Finally, nobody applied for .geek, though one applicant has picked up .sexy, so watch this space…