The dawn of a new Internet

In the forseeable future, you might start to see websites that end in .food or .microsoft.


In a special session on Monday, June 20, the Internet’s governing body voted 13-1 to allow, in theory, an near-infinite number of new domain endings.

ICANN, known formally as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, calls it “one of the biggest changes ever to the Internet’s Domain Name System.”

There are currently 22 top-level domains, the most popular being .com, .org, .net, and so on. With this change, website names will be able to end with almost any word in any language.

Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN, explained the gravity of the announcement on ICANN’s website: “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.”

Tech commentators and marketers see this an immediate opportunity for corporations, which will certainly rush to apply for branded domain names, such as .coke or .microsoft.

As for the Joe Sixpack who wants to register www.joe.sixpack, he’s going to need a brimming bank account and a good lawyer. The change comes with a few boundaries:

  • It will cost $185,000 just to apply for a new generic top-level domain name
  • Approval will take months and may involve governments and other agencies
  • Applicants must show a legitimate claim to the name they are buying

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