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Voting in Singapore on Monday, ICANN’s board — lauding the decision as a “historic change” — decided to increase the number of generic top-level domains names (.com, .org, .net etc) from the current 22.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is global body responsible for managing the internet’s domain name system.
The decision now allows private companies to have their own domain names. Therefore, a major firm such as General Motors could choose to have its own domain name such as “.gm”.
Sebastien Bachollet, an ICANN board member who was in favour of the proposal said that although some people feared the new suffixes would lead to confusion, he felt that, “…we have the tools to ensure the phase of stress will be brief.”
Explaining the new suffixes, Michele Jourdan, communications manager for the ICANN said, “While they won’t have a technical impact on the way the internet operates, they could potentially change the way people find information and how businesses plan and structure their online presence.”
Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO of ICANN, also said of the decision, “ICANN has opened the internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new top-level domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind.”
Despite the unleashing of “global human imagination” the figures associated with registering a new domain may also give some insight into why this decision was approved.
The application for a domain costs US$185 000. This amount does not account for the costs of setting up the domain name should it be approved. ICANN’s application guidebook which is more than 300 pages long sets out guidelines such as “ability to meet the technical requirements”.
ICANN has been thinking about this for a while. In March of this year, after stiff resistance from many including the porn industry itself, ICANN — amongst other top-level domain names — approved the .xxx domain name.
Image courtesy of ICANN.