Icann paves the way for new top-level domains
June 30, 2008
The most dramatic expansion of virtual real estate for the
last 25 years is on the way after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN) approved a proposal for implementation of new Internet
extensions. Currently, users are limited to choose from 21 top level domains
such as .com, .org, .info which have been tightly regulated. After this vote, the
number of generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) will significantly grow in the next
An important point of this move is to open up the system to
support extensions in the different languages. Having in mind that the existing
system supports only 37 Roman characters and that a large part of the world's
population is not familiar with the Roman alphabet, this decision will
contribute for the further evolution and popularization of the internet.
The ICANN Board is expected to approve the final version of
the implementation plan which is likely to be launched in the second quarter of
Any established business can submit its application and go
through an evaluation process ensuring that the offered TLD isn't offensive and
doesn't infringe on the intellectual property. The entities must must prove
that they are capable of managing the TLD or can reach a deal with a company
that will be. The registration fee will be between $100,000 and $500,000.
"We will start accepting applications in April and May
next year," ICANN Chief Executive Paul Twomey said in Paris, where the
milestone meeting was held. "We don't know how many we'll get. I expect it
will be hundreds or thousands, but it may be tens of thousands."
Companies will be able to secure domain names easily based
on their intellectual property. "There will be opportunities to protect
brand names by appealing if someone else has put forward their brand,"
said Dr Twomey and added that ‘If there is a dispute, we will try and get the
parties together to work it out. But if that fails there will be an auction and
the domain will go to the highest bidder."
While some of the critics argue that it is very likely for
the consumers to be confused using unfamiliar addresses, some are getting ready
for an Internet gold rush.
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