News / Science & Technology

New Internet Name Rule Opens Door to Huge Changes

A man works on a computer at an internet cafe in Beijing, China. (file photo)
A man works on a computer at an internet cafe in Beijing, China. (file photo)

The regulatory body that oversees Internet domain names has agreed to end restrictions on suffixes for site names, a change that will dramatically increase the number of possible site names while opening up new branding opportunities for companies, cities and others.  

Currently, Internet site owners are limited to a handful of suffixes, such as dot.com, dot.org or dot.gov.

But starting in January registrants will be able to invent their own suffixes.  

Major companies are expected to create suffixes with their own names. Japanese electronics giant, Canon, has already said it plans to apply for rights to use domain names ending with dot-canon.  The German capital city, Berlin, has reportedly expressed interest in a dot.berlin suffix. Other suffixes could help organize the Internet by language, geography or industry.

The change was overwhelmingly approved Monday in Singapore in a vote of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.

The Los Angeles-based non-profit organization is expected to begin taking applications for the new names on January 12.

Brad White, ICANN's director of global media affairs, says opening the Internet address system will have far-reaching social and commercial impact.

"It will afford a possibility for innovation, creativity, branding, marketing.  We can't fully predict the impact that this change will have, but we know it will have tremendous impact, in much the same way that nobody could predict social media. Nobody could predict the popularity of Skype. No one could predict the popularity of Facebook or Twitter. What we have done is removed a barrier to innovation," says White.

There are currently 22 generic top-level domains, also known as gTLDs.  Dot.com, dot.org and dot.info are a few examples. There are also about 250 country-level domains like dot.uk for Britain or dot.cn for China.

Several hundred new gTLDs are expected to come into existence under the new system.

In addition to the interest of big corporate brands, organizations such as cities or other communities are expected to apply. However, with an initial price tag of $185,000 for each application, none but the richest individuals can be expected to seek their own personal domains.

Still, the move is an opportunity for commercial brands to gain more control over their on-line presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their websites.

Brad White, of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names, says the new suffixes will have other benefits.

"One of the biggest changes that this will mean to the Internet is an expansion of the use of non-Latin characters. So, people who speak Cyrillic, or Arabic or Chinese can now use their own generic top-level domains at the end of an Internet address. It will vastly, we believe, increase the number of Internet users," he says.

The new domain system will also change how ICANN works. Until now, it has overseen names and performed some other tasks, but has had little involvement in the Internet's thornier issues.

With the new changes, ICANN will have a role in policing how gTLDs are operated, bought and sold.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid