Maybe you haven’t heard of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) before but you will probably see them mentioned a bit more in the near future. ICANN is an internet non profit organisation which controls the web’s domain names among other things.
Do you know how many domain name endings are available right now? There are currently around 250 country specific ones such as .uk and .es. However, when it comes to what are known as generic top level domain names there are only 22 possible endings. As well as .com, .org and .gov there are some lesser seen ones such as .mil and .aero too.
The reason why ICANN is in the news right now is that they have decided to open up the domain names endings list and let people apply for any type of ending they want in any language, including the likes of Chinese and Arabic.
It is expected that big international companies and governments organisations will be among the first people to make their move. So what kind of site names could we see now? www.apple.iphone? www.sony.playstation? www.gadgets.gizmos? There are clearly lots of possibilities for making much more memorable site addresses than at the present time.
Applications can be made to ICANN from the start of 2012 but it is worth thinking things over before asking for a new domain name suffix, as it will cost an eye watering $185,000 to start with. After that the annual fee will be $25,000. The money will be used for the work to be carried out by the ICANN boffins and also to cover legal action brought by anyone unhappy at being denied the suffix they want.
The first of the new sites should be up and running by the end of next year and there will no doubt be a bit of competition to see who gets their hands on the first one. The huge multinationals are probably already planning their applications.
Peter Thrush is the chairman of the board of directors at ICANN and he has stated that this change will “usher in a new internet age” and that “innovation should be allowed to run free”. The president and CEO is called Rod Beckstrom and he went even further, saying that the change has opened the internet domain system to the “limitless possibilities of the human imagination”.
Anyone looking to get a new domain name suffix- and who is happy to pay for it – will also need to justify their need to be given one. It is expected that a thorough questionnaire will be given to every new applicant. We will need to wait and see when news leaks out about the first applications.