In the not too distant future, you might start to see websites that end in .food or .microsoft.After years of looking at the implications, haggling over the details, and sorting through public comments, ICANN, the Internet’s governing body, has voted 13-1 to radically expand the quantity and character of domain endings. In a release, ICANN called it “one of the most important changes ever to the Internet’s Domain Name System.” ICANN, if you’re unfamiliar, stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It is a non-profit organization based in California that oversees Internet-related issues on behalf of the U.S. government. The bulk of the organization’s work is focused on the management and allocation of top-level domains (TLDs) and IP addresses (those things that look a bit like phone numbers). Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s board of directors said the change “will usher in a new Internet age,” adding, “we have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”
Currently there are 22 TLDs, such as .com, .org, and .net. Now, in theory, the sky is the limit: Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language.
But before you decide to rush out to secure www.awesome.dude, check your bank account balance, and prepare to make a good argument for your awesomeness, because there’s some fine print with this new change:
- It will cost a hefty $185,000 just to apply for a new universal top-level domain name
- The approval process will take months and may involve governments and other agencies
- Individuals or organizations will have to show a legitimate claim to the name they are buying