Intense push on to grab new Web domain names

(CBS News) SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- The Internet is about to change in a big way, because nearly all of the most useful dot-com addresses have been used up.

In London Wednesday, the non-profit corporation that oversees web addresses put out a list of more than 1,000 potential new domain names.

Getting one of them won't be easy or cheap.

George Minardos runs a construction company in Santa Monica, Calif. that builds high-end homes and restaurants. He has his eye on a new piece of property -- online.

He likens efforts to obtain one of the new domain names to "the great land rush. And it depends how long your view is. ... I looked at it and I thought, 'Wow, this is a great opportunity."'

Minardos has spent $1 million trying to buy three new Internet domains: dot-build, dot-construction, and dot-expert. He would use the web addresses for his business, but also sell them to other builders.

He says he hopes to make lots of money doing so.

In all, more than 1,400 proposals for new Internet domain names were announced Wednesday. Each application cost $180,000.

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The most sought after are dot-app, dot-home, dot-inc, and dot-art, according to the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees Internet addresses and decides which new names will be added.

"All the good dot-coms, dot-nets, dot- orgs are taken," points out CNET Editor at Large Brian Cooley. "So this allows people in a specific, focused area to go get a domain that they like. If you're a realtor, you might want something-dot-realty."

If there's competition, ICANN will auction a name off to the highest bidder.

"We even do criminal background checks on the officers of the corporation; technology checks, financial checks - it's really quite rigorous checks we have to do, because running a top-level domain is like running a key piece of Internet infrastructure," says ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom.

Tech giant Google went after 99 names, including dot-google, dot-youtube, dot-free and dot-fun. Amazon wants 76, everything from dot-author to dot-movie and dot-song. CBS Corporation, the parent company of CBS News and CBSNews.com, is seeking dot-cbs. Apple applied for just one: dot-apple.

"You're going to see a lot of sites that have multiple domains," Cooley notes. "So, for example, right now there's a coke.com for the Coca Cola Company, but they might also buy the domain dot-coke."

None of the applications has been approved yet, but many of the new domains, including Minardos' dot-build, should be online in 2013.

To see Ben Tracy's report, click on the video in the player above.

  • Ben Tracy

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