Internet Org Relaxes the Rules for Domain Names

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers voted Thursday to relax rules for naming Web sites.

At its meeting in Paris, ICANN, a not-for-profit organization that oversees the naming scheme for Web sites, voted to accept a proposal that will allow companies to purchase new top-level domain names ending in whatever they like.

ICANN’s ruling Thursday, however, allows potential users to apply to register for any TLD they choose. Speaking about the decision, Dr. Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN, believes opening up the domain registration ledger can only have positive consequences.

The other proposal before ICANN would permit addresses entirely in non-English characters for the first time. Specific countries would be put on a “fast track” to receive the equivalent of their two-letter country code, such as Bulgaria’s “.bg,” in a native language.

“It represents a whole new way for people to express themselves on the Net, It’s a massive increase in the ‘real estate’ of the Internet. New domain names will not be sold to users, according to a statement from ICANN - at least any costs that may be attached have not been publicly stated by ICANN.” said Twomey.

Groups applying for new top-level domain names must also either prove they are technically able to operate Web sites or contract with a company that does. New Generic Top Level Domain (gTLDs) will probably start appearing by the end of 2009, ICANN said. Prices to register the new domain names, expected to be anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000, would most likely prohibit individuals from applying for new domain names.

Source: cnet

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