Monday, July 21, 2008

Internet domains to open up, prepare for .whatever [International]

"Dot-com," the ubiquitous term that has come to serve as a description for all things Internet-related, could be in the sunset of its heyday following a key decision on domain names.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann -- the body that regulates the Internet, voted unanimously on Thursday to ease up restrictions on domain names such as .com or .net.

The decision, made on the final day of week-long meetings in Paris, could trigger a frenzy of bidding as companies rush to claim domains like .investment or .travel. In fact almost anything could become a web address under the new rules -- from personal names to trademarked brands for major corporations. Be prepared for .news, .startrekfans and .somethinginappropriate.

Bidding wars for domain names are expected to reach well in the six-figures. "You can pretty much guarantee, unfortunately, (that) the most sought after one will probably be .sex," Bryan Glick of Computing Magazine said. Although, that could mean pornographic sites would move to their own neighbourhood on the web, making it more difficult to unintentionally stumble onto naughty sites. Individuals could get domains named after themselves so long as they could prove they have a business plan and "technical capacity" according to the plans for the system.
However, companies with intellectual property linked to a specific name will have first dibs on their own domain, like .ctv, for example. The new rules would mark a historic change from the current system where only .com, .net, .edu or .org are permitted, in addition to country domains like .ca or .au.
The new system could be in place as early as next year, but many details have to be worked out first.

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