Google.eggfaced: Chocolate Factory spaffs cash in dot-word bungle

Subsidiary Oompa-Loompas failed to RTFM


Google may have applied to ICANN for 101 new generic top-level domains, but at least three of the applications are doomed to fail because somebody forgot to read the manual.

The advertising juggernaut was the second-largest applicant out of the hundreds that applied for new right-of-the-dot addresses, according to the list published two weeks ago.

But among its many applications – which cost the company $185,000 each in filing fees – are some for words that have special restrictions, and some that ICANN will almost certainly reject outright.

The three applications that seem set to fail are those for .and, .are, and .est. All three are considered geographic, according to ICANN's rules, and are therefore on the banned list.

That's because not only did ICANN prohibit anyone from applying for two-letter gTLDs, to avoid conflicts with future country-code domains, it also placed corresponding three-letter country codes, as defined by the International Organization for Standardization, on the restricted list.

ICANN's arcane 350-page Applicant Guidebook (yes, we've read it) is quite specific about what three-letter strings are not available.

It states: “Applications for strings that are country or territory names will not be approved, as they are not available under the New gTLD Program in this application round. A string shall be considered to be a country or territory name if: i. it is an alpha-3 code listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.”

The ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 standard lists AND as the code for Andorra, ARE as the code for the United Arab Emirates and EST as the code for Estonia.

Therefore, unless ICANN suddenly changes its rules specifically for Google, its applications for .and, .are and .est are toast before ICANN has even started evaluating them.

The strict rules on geographic names were introduced due to the lobbying influence of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee, which represents the interests of dozens of national governments.

Had Google been reading El Reg a little more closely, the company could have saved itself a bit of time and money by perusing our January article that explained the issue.

The company also potentially faces problems – although not an outright ban – with applications for strings including .home and .mail, which already receive vast amounts of error traffic and therefore may cause security and stability problems if ICANN delegates them.

According to Google's applications, .and was destined to be a closed “dot-brand” space to be used to market Android-related services. Google would own all the domain names.

The .are and .est gTLDs were both designed for so-called “domain hacks”, so internet users could create URLs such as dogs.are/cute or fast.est/swimmer.

Google, which applied for all 101 gTLDs via a new subsidiary, Charleston Road Registry, is the only applicant for all three of the banned strings.

It's not the only company to screw up its applications, however.

Mauritius-based DotConnectAfrica, which has been lobbying for a .africa top-level domain for years, accidentally applied for .dotafrica when it came to the crunch.

Fat fingers at Hong Kong's Kerry Trading Company caused the company to apply for the misspelling .kerrylogisitics, instead of .kerrylogistics.

Not even .com operator Verisign was immune, accidentally applying for a Hebrew transliteration of .com (.קוֹם) that would reportedly require seven keystrokes to type instead of the intended three.

ICANN said this week at its public meeting in Prague that it will give applicants an opportunity to correct silly errors in their applications, as long as there are no material changes that could give them an unfair advantage in the evaluation process. ®

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