Bookseller-turned-bazaar Amazon has beaten off competition from eight other companies, including Google and publisher Bowker, to win the right to sell domains ending in .book.
It's not known how much Amazon paid since the gTLD was bought at private auction, although it is believed to have been between $5m and $10m – Amazon just paid $4.6m for dot-buy, by the way. Bowker was reportedly the last to drop out of the auction, run by DNS overseer ICANN.
Amazon also shelled out millions for the rights to dot-pay but was, surprisingly, beaten to dot-cloud by little-known Italian company Aruba. Also applying for dot-cloud were Google and Symantec, suggesting that Aruba paid a high price for the rights to the only gTLD that the company applied for.
Other new generic top-level domains that have been settled in the past week are: .chat, .dog, .earth, .film, .hot, .latino, .live, .online, .site, .sucks and .tennis. That leaves just two of the 16 domain-name extensions due to be auctioned off by 19 November: dot-dot and dot-apartments.
Companies are keen to take part in private auctions since losers receive a cut of the final price, to the extent that they end up profiting significantly from their initial application.
Under the ICANN rules – which it recently changed [PDF] to allow for early bids – all the money goes to ICANN. The non-profit has promised to keep the money separate and allow the internet community to decide what to do with it, but it promised the same thing with the tens of millions of dollars that it received in gTLD applications and that fund has increasingly be used to pay for other ICANN activities.
A large number of commercially valuable top-level domains are due to be auctioned in December, likely prompting a further round of private auctions. Internet registry Afilias recently announced plans to sell off 30 percent of itself for $100m in order to be able to outbid others for .app, .blog, .pet, .bet and .casino. ®