Community project seeks control of .app top-level domain

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The .app Project is a community effort to obtain the rights to the .app generic top-level domain (gTLD) next year. If successful, developers that produce mobile and desktop apps will be able to have their own “.app” domain for the product. For example, a company that produces an app called “Foobar” will be able to buy “”. The initiative will be run for and run by software developers who produce apps for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone as well as desktop platforms such as Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.

The project is looking to take advantage of ICANNs decision in June to open up the domain naming system. ICANN’s principle is that anyone can apply to have the rights to any top-level domain that they like so that applicants can “carve off” their own piece of the Internet and define their own rules as to how that piece is run.

The .app Project is looking to take advantage of this by creating a new space specifically targeted to the needs of software developers, particularly when it comes to intellectual property protection.

“In the world of current gTLDs, such as .com there’s no in-built control over cybersquatting or intellectual property” said Matthew Baxter-Reynolds, CEO of The .app Project. “What we can do with .app is design it from the ground up to protect the intellectual property of software developers.

“For example, if a company produces an application called Foobar, we can make sure that they have a right to the domain if they are able to demonstrate a stronger claim than the current holder. Unlike conflict resolution on normal domains we can make this a lightweight, straightforward and ultimately cheap process because it’s baked right into the core service.”

He then goes on to say, “Another thing we can do is actually stop cybersquatting by imposing a system of ‘use it or lose it’. This reverses the situation with .com where a land-grab that’s taken up most domain names makes it hard for developers to name and brand their products.”

Over the next few months, .app is looking to secure funding for ICANN’s evaluation fee by selling memberships to the program to the community that it will ultimately serve. It is also seeking traditional financing to launch and run technical operations in 2012.

Developers are able to sign up and pre-register domains that they may be interested in on the Web site at


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Matthew Baxter-Reynolds
.app Ltd
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