ICANN new gTLDs
In January 2012, ICANN announced the start of the applicaton of NEW generic top level domains (gTLDs). You can take at look at who has applied for which TLDs here. ICANN also has high level stastics on the applications which can be found here http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/statistics.
I was interested to see which organisations had submitted the most applications,which countries they were from, what were the top gTLDs (i.e. most contentious). I downloaded a CSV from ICANN with the details of the applications but found that someone had already created a nice infographic of new gTLD applications:
From the infographic, it's evident that a significant proportion of the applicants are US based organisations (46%). You'll also see what you may consider as anomalies such as Cayman Isalnds, British Virgin Islands.
The reason for this becomes clearer when you look at Back-end Suppliers section of the infographic, which states that the majority of the applicants have outsourced registry services to a 3rd party. If you look at who has made the applications from the Cayman Islands you'll see they are organisations like Uniregistry Corp, United TLD Holdco, Home Registry Inc and for the British Virgin Islands the biggest (in terms of applications) is Top Level Domain Holdings Limited.
Interestingly, there are a fair number of applications from Goolge but listed under Charleston Road Registry Inc which is owned by Google (see http://www.internetnews.com/blog/skerner/who-is-charleston-road-registry-the-leading-gtld-applicant.html).
There are a fair number of conflicts with multiple organisations vying for the same gTLDs. It also appears that some of these holding companies and registry are relatively new organisations. There is pretty good market for domain names in general and there are probably plenty of registries and domain parking companies who are relishing the thought of new gTLDs. One thing is clear there is going to be a lot of debate around these TLDs.
For further details of the process, status of the programme, details of applications
There is some interesting information on the wiki including lists of registrars, registries and other organisations that are (in ICANNS own words) "in and around the ICANN space".
The first site reports on the domain name market with the second one providing good coverage of the news about new gTLDs applicantions, conflicts and so forth.
An interesting analysis of dispute resolution and potential trademark issues that may arise with an increase in new gTLDs.