Internet body throws open domain names
By Raju Gopalakrishnan
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - 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 voted on Monday to end restricting them to suffixes like .com or .gov and will receive applications for new names from January 12 next year with the first approvals likely by the end of 2012.
And they can be in any characters -- Cyrillic, Kanji or Devanagari for instance, for users of Russian, Japanese and Hindi.
"It's the biggest change I think we have seen on the Internet," Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), told reporters.
"We 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. Continued...