SINGAPORE – ICANN, the group that governs Internet domain names has voted to approve a vast expansion of domain suffixes from the current 22 existing internet address endings. The ICANN board approved the move by 13 votes to one with two abstentions during its 41st public meeting.
Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s board of directors, said: “Today’s decision will usher in a new internet age. We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration. Unless there is a good reason to restrain it, innovation should be allowed to run free.”
Some of the current generic top level domain (gTLD) suffixes you may be familiar with are: .com, .org, .gov, .edu and .net
The price tag for a new gTLD will be $185,000 per application, up to 1,000 gTLDs will be approved each year after a lengthy review, according to ICANN. Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012.
ICANN — short for the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers — will make the final decisions on new domains. The group requires that applicants be “established public or private organizations,” with the necessary technical capability to keep a domain running.
Once all the applications are reviewed and vetted. ICANN will publish the list on its website which will enable a third-party to lodge a complaint about any perceived infringement using a formal dispute resolution process
ICANN says it will auction suffixes if multiple parties have legitimate claims. However, it expects companies will reach deals to avoid a public auction. “I think we’ll see much more of that going on than see auctions generating circuses,” said Dengate Thrush. “But there is that prospect that there will be a couple of identical applicants and applications.”
Analysts say they initially expect 500 to 1,000 domain suffixes, mostly for companies and products looking to stamp their mark on web addresses, but also for cities and generic names such as .bank or .hotel.
ICANN, plans to start a global campaign to raise public awareness about the upcoming changes to gTLDs.