A New Internet... Kind of


Last week, the internet’s regulating body, ICANN, made a historic decision to expand the Internet by allowing for new domain names.

On Thursday, June 26, the internet’s regulating body, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) made a historic decision to expand the Internet by allowing for new domain names. While we are accustomed to seeing website addresses that end in .com or .org, with this new ruling, we may soon see sites ending with .health or .cancer. But these changes are still a long ways away.

How it works

Called “top level domain” names, or TLDs, .com and .org have been the most commonly used, though many others do exist, such as .travel, .edu, .biz, and .info. With the new ruling, organizations will be allowed to create and apply for new TLDs, such as .nyc or .berlin. The process for this will not be as simple as registering a domain name on the Internet. Interested parties will have to create a business proposal and apply to ICANN, with the application costing an estimated $100,000 per top level domain. This process is anticipated to begin Spring 2009.

How this will affect you

Essentially, this will not impact how individuals use the Web, but will create the opportunity for more websites to exist. Physicians who may have a .com website for their practice or any other kind of personal .com address will not be affected. Search engines will also not be affected, as they will continue to function as they do now, but will just have more sites to index. These new changes will mostly affect those managing a trademark, such as pharmaceutical companies and other large organizations. While it might not be necessary for Pfizer to register a .pfizer TLD, concerns that someone else might try to cybersquat (or take their domain name and then try to sell it back to them for a much higher cost or profit from it on their own ventures) has organizations worried that they have no option but to register a TLD. Many have already expressed concern as it could cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars to register all of their trademarks. ICANN has taken these facts into consideration and has said it will protect larger organizations with intellectual property laws to prevent cybersquatting. Many details however have yet to be decided and further discussions will take place later this fall.

What to expect in the long-run

In the coming years, it seems not too much will change for Internet users other than that many different addresses will be available online. Despite increased options, many doubt this will greatly affect the domain naming business. Though .biz and .info have been around for several years, they have yet to match .com and .org in popularity, and although new TLDs may enter the domain market, .com is likely to remain the reigning TLD.

For further information:

Domain Name Journal

How this will affect you

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