Among the thousands of applications for new generic top-level domains that ICANN released today are three to run new .army, .navy and .airforce domains. The applicant isn't the U.S. Department of Defense -- or any other government entity for that matter -- it's those masters of cheap, spammy content, Demand Media.
The military suffixes are three of 26 applications that list United TLD Holdco Ltd. as the applicant -- United TLD is a Cayman Islands-based subsidiary of Demand Media, which runs eHow.com and other sites. The company was part of the inspiration behind tweaks to Google's search algorithm last year that resulted in giving less weight to so-called "content farms" -- like Demand Media.
In addition to the 26 domains that Demand applied for on its own, the company also entered into a partnership with Donuts.co to share rights for 107 of the domains that Donuts has applied for. Donuts made 307 applications in total, and it's not clear which would be part of the Demand partnership. The applications from Demand and Donuts appear to largely be speculative plays on common terms like .club, .global and .mobile. Here's how Demand Media described the approach in a statement to investors:
Guided by a proprietary, data-driven methodology, (Demand Media) selected gTLD names in categories connected to an extremely broad range of interests and capabilities including: ecommerce, personal & professional identity, education, entertainment, internet life, sports, small business and social media.
Among the strangest of the crop is an application for .gripe by Donuts. Other interesting standalone domain grabs include Demand's applications for .democrat and .republican.
It's possible some other party could object to the Demand and Donuts applications, but for their part Donuts says they believe the domains they're going after are sufficiently generic and they plan to fight for them:
"We have resources set aside for handling objections by parties who, for whatever reason, believe only they are equipped to administer a generic term," said Donuts CEO Paul Stahura in a release.
While Demand and Donuts may have the financial resources to defend their applications, they might find themselves short on tanks and bombers should they have to face an actual military challenge.