According to Reuters, no more one would be restricted to a domain. Anything goes now. You name it: good.food, learnto.salsa, glossy.lipstick - people and companies will be able to set up a website with almost any address by the end of next year if they have a legitimate claim to the domain name and can pay a hefty fee.
The Internet body that oversees domain names decided to end restricting to suffixes like .com or .gov. Now the new names (applications for the new names would begin to be reviewed in January 2012) can be in any characters - Cyrillic, Kanji or Devanagari for instance, for users of Russian, Japanese and Hindi.
This is definitely a big accomplishment for the Internet industry, although, there is a certain skeptism. Wouldn’t it create too many names too soon just to confuse Internet users? The representatives of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) argue that it’s not. As a matter of fact, they believe that by allowing flexibility in domains, they “have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration”.
Experts say corporations should be among the first to register, resulting in domain names ending in brands like .toyota, .apple or .coke.
The move is seen as a big opportunity for brands to gain more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites - and a danger for those who fail to take advantage.
Japanese electronics giant Canon, for instance, has already said it plans to apply for rights to use domain names ending with .canon.
However, there is the other side of the coin. The new names could infringe on social and religious sensitivities, for instance if someone wanted to set up a .nazi domain. And people who have invested in securing lucrative .com domains will find the value of the holdings diluted by the new rules, - per ICANN. Besides, won’t it create a potential pool of copycats? But ICANN promises to thorough review each submission for a domain.
I see a lot of potential lawsuits, though…Don’t you?
Today, just 22 gTLDs exist - .com, .org and .info are a few examples - plus about 250 country-level domains like .uk or .cn. After the change, several hundred new gTLDs are expected to come into existence. As well as big brands, organizations such as cities or other communities are expected to apply.
GTLDs such as .nyc, .london or .food could provide opportunities for many smaller businesses to grab names no longer available at the .com level - like bicycles.london or indian.food.
Some people that the freedom of domains is "the next expansion of the Internet, it's the future of the Internet”. But I’d be careful to get too joyful about it… Wouldn’t you?