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Who benefits from the great .pizza domain grab of 2012?

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(Read caption) Welcome to the great ICANN domain name grab of 2012.

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This week the Internet Corporation for Assigned Named and Numbers, or ICANN, published a list of the companies and individuals applying for new top-level domain names such as .pizza, .jeep., and .lol. The applicants include Samsung, which is laying claim to .samsung, and the BBC, which (quite naturally) wants .bbc. In all, some 1,930 applications have been made.

"This is an historic day for the Internet and the more than 2 billion people around the world who depend on it. The Internet is about to change for ever," said Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO of Icann, according to the Wall Street Journal. “If even three-quarters of these applications are approved, the number of top-level domains will expand four-fold."

The Internet is going to change forever! Bold words. Is Beckstrom right? 

Well, yes, in a sense. By expanding Web addresses past the traditional .com or .biz or .org, ICANN is making the World Wide Web a much bigger place. But critics argue that ICANN may not be making the World Wide Web a better place. GigaOm's Mathew Ingram, for instance, calls the ICANN domain land grab a "train wreck," with only a few real beneficiaries. 


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