Ready to have some fun with domain names?

June 26, 2008

richards.jpgThis could get fun.

Internet regulators just voted to relax the rules that govern top level domain names — you know, the .edu or .com or .org that you type into your Web browser. Basically, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, decided it would allow all sorts of new top level domain names to come into existence.

What does that mean? If your name is Keith Richards then you could try to get the .KeithRichards or .Guitar domain name. Well, you could if you’re the real Keith Richards and had a few extra bucks sitting around. It seems that applying for domain names isn’t cheap.

That’s one reason that Icann Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush figures there won’t be too many regular folks lining up for domain names under the new rules.

Here’s what he said on a conference call:

We don’t expect there to be thousands of applications. First of all, the cost is going to be at least $100,000. But also to be a successful applicant for a new top level domain, you’re going to have to show that you’ve got the capacity to run an Internet registry, which may eventually have to hold millions of domain names. So you’re going to have to be a reasonably serious business — in most cases — or a community of businesses to put forward an application.

So where will all the applications come from?

We’re hoping for a broad range, and expecting a broad range of applicants. We’re expecting indigenous communities to be interested in protecting aspects of their indigenous language and culture. We’re expecting businesses to come forward. One of the board members today in this discussion refered to the likelihood of there being applications for vanity names. You may see .smith, for example, so all the Smiths of the world would have a place. We’ve been threatened that the Irish will get behind a Dennis Jennings top level domain.

We expect to see things such as .perfume and .wine and .silk and all sorts of commodity names coming forward, which will then be taken up by the people who deal in those particular goods and services in all sorts of inventive ways.

A few possible domain names immediately spring to mind, like .news or .sports or .blog or .sex (if they allow it). But it’ll be interesting to see what other names catch hold.

(Photo: Reuters)


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I’m sending in an application for .cotton

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