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ICANN gives Amazon approval in top-level domain race

Japanese words for 'Amazon', 'store' and 'fashion' are among the first to pass ICANN's Initial Evaluation

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has published a list of the first 27 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to have passed its Initial Evaluation, with Amazon scoring some early wins.

ICANN is currently in the process of evaluating 1,930 applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), in the hope of ushering in a new era for the Internet and enabling organisations to register domains such as .shop or .bank alongside existing gTLDs like .com and .org.

The first gTLDs were chosen using a raffle process in Los Angeles at the end of last year, determining which would be given an Initial Evaluation. There were no English language gTLDs in the first 100 drawn, with the likes of Amazon's ".play" further down the ICANN list.

However, three applications by Amazon have now received a 'Pass', which means the evaluation panels have determined that the application is consistent with the requirements in the Applicant Guidebook and can advance to the next phase of the programme.

These include the Japanese word for 'Amazon', the Japanese word for 'store' and the Japanese word for 'fashion'.

Other winners in the first batch include Wal-Mart, which applied for 'number one store' in Chinese, Qatar Telecom, which applied for its own brand name in Arabic, and VeriSign, which applied for the transliteration of 'dot com' in Chinese.

"Today marks a major milestone in the New gTLD Program," said ICANN in a statement.

"Applicants, along with the greater ICANN community have dedicated countless hours toward reaching this goal. This is not only an important and exciting moment in the New gTLD Program but also in the continuing evolution of the Internet."

There are three possible outcomes of Initial Evaluation: Pass, Eligible for Extended Evaluation, or Ineligible for Further Review.

Eligible for Extended Evaluation means that the application did not provide sufficient information to award a passing score; Ineligible for Further Review means that the application did not meet the relevant criteria in the Applicant Guidebook.

Applications that pass Initial Evaluation will be eligible to proceed to contracting, with execution of the Registry Agreement as early as 23 April 2013, according to ICANN.

The organisation said that it will release Initial Evaluation results in increments of 30 per week, with plans to increase to 100 per week. The organisation anticipates having Initial Evaluation results for all applications published by the end of August 2013.

The current application status of gTLDs can be tracked via ICANN's new gTLD microsite.


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