Google may still get to own the .search generic top-level domain (gTLD), but it won’t get to operate it as a dotless domain.
ICANN ruled this week that dotless domains are prohibited, citing “the current security and stability risks” that have been identified in previous studies of dotless domains. The decision affirms recommendations made earlier by an ICANN security committee.
The news was first reported by DomainIncite.com, which doubts that the decision will have any impact on Google’s application to own the .search gTLD.
But it does put an end to Google’s desire to operate that as a dotless domain. In a letter to ICANN earlier this year, Google explained what it wanted to do:
Our goal for .search is to provide an easily-identifiable namespace for firms that provide search functionality and to allow Internet users a unique and simple mechanism to access the search functionality of their choice. Google intends to operate a redirect service on the “dotless” .search domain (http://search/) that, combined with a simple technical standard will allow a consistent query interface across firms that provide search functionality, and will enable users to easily conduct searches with firms that provide the search functionality that they designate as their preference.
Some of Google’s biggest competitors, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, filed objections to Google’s plan for a dotless search domain.
There’s more discussion on Techmeme.