hi-tony-merchant

Regina lawyer Tony Merchant's firm, best known for class-action lawsuits and residential school cases, want to get into the web domain business. (CBC)

A Saskatchewan law firm says it would love to acquire the new .love web domain.

The Merchant Law Group has applied to ICANN, the agency responsible for assigning new top-level domains, and has passed an initial hurdle to be considered for it.

It's known that .love will be among hundreds of new domain endings joining the 20 generic top-level domains that exist already. The best known of the current ones include .com, .net, .org and — in Canada — .ca.

Merchant Law Group, headed by well-known Regina lawyer Tony Merchant, hopes to turn .love into a business.

Love for sale

Valentine's Day and romance is worth billions around the globe. Now, the Merchant Law Group is seeking to gain control of the .love web address ending.

It wants to market web and email addresses to people and companies interested in "love, engagements, marriage, and family," its application to ICANN says.

"MLG has a plan to develop, build, and sustain a unique value proposition for the .LOVE TLD [top level domain], and a marketing strategy to ensure that the maximum number of people and organizations are aware of how a .LOVE domain can enhance their value proposition or other goals," the application says.

A final decision about who gets .love could take another year. Merchant is up against half a dozen other applicants, many with experience in website domains.

Evatt Merchant told CBC News that MLG hopes to make money with the venture.

"It takes a lot of time and money to run something like that, but it is an exciting business opportunity," he said. "You get to be part of this new and growing community of internet managers who are really helping to ensure that internet commerce works effectively."

Merchant said the .love ending would be marketed to engagement, wedding and family-related websites.

Getting into the web domain business comes with some costs. The initial price to apply for a new generic top level domain is $185,000.

Merchant Law Group has also applied to obtain .home, .app. .club, .art, .blog and .news.

According to ICANN officials, the application fee is just the beginning of costs for a potential domain holder.