Monday, June 20, 2011

ICANN to Unleash Torrent of Top-Level Domain Names

By Rob Spiegel
E-Commerce Times

Precisely how the new rules regarding domain names will change the Internet is still unclear, but there's little doubt that they will have a significant impact. With an unlimited number of possible names, companies may discover exciting new approaches to marketing and branding. On the other hand, consumers may face a sea of confusion, and cyberthieves may romp on a whole new playground.

You may soon be able to get a designer Internet address -- e.g., you.yourname -- for a mere US$185,000.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board of directors has approved a plan to implement some of the biggest changes ever to the Internet's Domain Name System. The board approved a plan to allow an increase in the number of Internet address endings, also known as generic top-level domains (gTLDs), from the current 22, which include the standard ".com," ".net" and ".org."

Internet address names will be able to end in almost any word in any language, drastically changing the way people find information online.
ICANN has opened the Internet's naming system to unleash the global human imagination, said president and CEO Rod Beckstrom.

The decision came after years of discussion and deliberation among representatives of the online community, business groups and governments. Efforts were made to address concerns of involved parties and ensure security, stability and resiliency.

ICANN is beginning a global communications program to tell the world about this change in domain names and raise awareness about the possibilities regarding gTLDs.

Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted beginning on Jan. 12. The cost will be $185,000 to acquire a new suffix, and applicants will need to provide a legitimate claim to the name they are buying, which will discourage cybersquatting, a common practice during the early dot-com days.

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