In the next two to three years, you will see websites ending with new domain names even with '.anything.'
Today, June 20, 2011, also might find its own place in history books as the day the Internet changed dramatically.
Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages the Internet Protocol address spaces (IPv4 and IPv6) and top level domain (TLD) name spaces, said that new generic TLDs in any words and in any language will be allowed for the corporates to promote their brands.
The move, which was passed off with 13 out 16 votes favoring the decision, is considered as one of the biggest changes ever to the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS) and is the biggest reform made to the DNS since the creation of '.com' 26 years ago.
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, Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO of Icann said in a statement.
New gTLDs are expected to introduce innovation, choice, and competition to Internet services. They will change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. gTLDs are top-level domains with three or more characters.
For corporations, the latest move will act as a branding tool and help in improving cyber security amid the resurgence of hack attacks.
Currently, there are 22 gTLDs, which includes such familiar domains as .com, .org and .net, as well as about 250 country-level domain names such as .uk, .in, or .de.
As a result of the latest decision, Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organizations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways.
Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age, said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of Icann's Board of Directors. We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.
Now, the clock starts ticking on a process that could lead to hundreds of new gTLDs by 2013. In addition to familiar TLDs such as .com, .org, and .net, Internet users could potentially see new domain name extensions made of almost any word, in any language.
But applicants should be prepared to spend more than US$180,000 upfront just to apply for a domain string.
Icann, which was created in September 1998, could generate some additional revenue through the hefty application fee that would be directed to its reserves. Meanwhile, Icann said the application fee is based on the estimated cost of processing the application, including possible lawsuits and other contingencies.
California-based Icann will accept applications for new gTLDs between January 12, 2012 and April 12, 2012.
This is not the first time Icann expanded the domain name system. In 2005, Icann introduced the TLDs eu, asia, travel, jobs, mobi, and cat.
Following are the existing 22 gTLDs:
.com : companies, now broader
.edu : educational institutions
.gov : government institutions
.int : international organizations, e.g. Interpol
.mil : military organizations
.net : networking technologies, now broader
.org : non-profit organizations
.arpa : first ever domain, now technical use
.aero : air travel industry
.biz : business alternative to .com
.coop : co-operatives
.info : information, but open for general use
.museum : museums
.name : personal names - johnsmith.name
.pro : professionals, e.g. doctors
.asia: Asian websites
.cat : Catalan language
.jobs : employment websites
.mobi : mobile phones
.post : postal services
.tel : telecoms
.travel : travel