Four companies would provide the underlying technology for about 64 percent of the 1,930 proposed alternatives to .com under a domain expansion planned by the Internet’s address-system manager.
VeriSignInc., Neustar Inc., Demand Media Inc. and Afilias Ltd. are each lined up to supply the back-end support for hundreds of extensions including .bank and .nyc, according to a list of applications released last week by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
“It will be a big business,” said Jeff Ernst, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. “There’s a limited number of companies that have the infrastructure and expertise to put it into place.”
Registries such as VeriSign and Neustar maintain the master databases for extensions to the right of the dot, known as top-level domains. They receive fees based on domain names sold under those extensions by retailers. The companies would earn fees providing such infrastructure to new suffixes.
VeriSign, the operator of .com and .net, is the chosen registry-services provider for 220 of the proposed new top-level domains, including .bank and .web. The company also applied for 14 extensions, most of them foreign-language versions of .com and .net.
The .com suffix is the most popular top-level domain with more than 102 million registrations as of January, according to Icann’s website.
Neustar would provide registry services for 358 of the proposed top-level domains including .nyc. The company is supplying infrastructure for extensions sought by Amazon.com Inc., including .app, .kindle and .cloud.
Demand Media applied for 26 suffixes and is handling infrastructure for 307 others sought by Donuts Inc., a Seattle startup company.
Afilias Ltd. of Dublin, Ireland, which operates .info and other top-level domains, would provide infrastructure to 305 proposed suffixes.
Icann, a nonprofit that operates under a U.S. government contract, carried out the Web expansion over the objections of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and brand-name companies including Coca-Cola Co. that said it may fuel Internet fraud.
Icann has said the expansion will enhance domain-name competition and innovation. The group, which charged $185,000 for each top-level domain application, will begin evaluating applications next month.
Chief Executive Officer Rod Beckstrom said last week the program could generate as many as 1,000 new Web suffixes within a year.
Eric Engleman is a Bloomberg writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared on page D – 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle