June 22, 2012

From .com to .API


Maybe we don’t mind ‘.com’ and ‘.org’ because it’s all we’ve ever known. But isn’t that entry point to the online world ridiculously small?

It’s easy to say the Internet is big, but the numbers are still staggering. There are now 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses. (No, that’s not a typo.) And yet the only way to get to almost any of them is a tiny number of suffixes: .com, .biz, etc. This is one area that’s ripe for change, and that’s finally happening.

ICANN (the non-profit organization charged with overseeing domain names) announced some time ago that it would begin accepting applications for new extensions in Top-Level Domains, or TLDs. Essentially, it allows people and groups to own the right side of the dot, and put whatever they want on the left. (Farewell, .com; hello, .whateveryouwant.) Right now, except for country code domains, there are only about couple of dozen gTLDs (the g, ironically, is for generic), and the granddaddy of them all is of course .com.

This week, ICANN unveiled the first list of applicants, and it’s a doozy. Some are predictable: the NFL wants .nfl, Apple wants .apple, and so on. Then it gets more interesting: Amazon, ever the retailer, wants everything from .book to .you. Setting up a battle royal, Google wants .you too, just as three companies, including L’Oreal, want .beauty. Keeping up the fight, 230 extensions have been applied for by more than one entity—10 for .art, eight each for .music and .movie, etc.

But here’s the best part. The most popular extension, with 13 applications, is .app.

At Mashery, we’re not surprised. We’ve always believed—and the TLD applications just the latest acknowledgement of this—that applications are the true fuel of business success.

The new TLDs, which require a substantial investment, represent a clear admission that the web as we know it is fundamentally changing. Literally nothing can be either generic or traditional anymore—not domains, not sites, not existing usage patterns. Companies and consumers alike will want new and customized applications to get things done, and try new things.

Which brings us back to, well, us.

We recognize the value of .app, and it’ll be fascinating to see well-financed companies duke it out over those three letters. We believe that whoever gets to own that suffix will become a hub of innovation and transformation.

Now, who’s up for .API?