ICANN gives greenlight for ‘.brand’ domain names

21/06/2011

ICANN’s board of directors has voted Monday to allow virtually unlimited new domain names based on themes as varied as company brands, entertainment and political causes, in the system's biggest shake-up since it started 26 years ago.

Groups able to pay the $185,000 application can petition next year for new updates to ".com" and ".net" with website suffixes using nearly any word in any language, including in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided at a meeting in Singapore.

21/06/2011

"This is the start of a whole new phase for the Internet," said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN's board of directors. "Unless there is a good reason to restrain it, innovation should be allowed to run free."

ICANN's decision culminates six years of negotiations and is the biggest change to the system since ".com" made its debut in 1984. The expansion plan had been delayed largely because of concerns that new suffixes could infringe on trademarks and copyrights.

During a special meeting, the Board approved a plan to allow an increase in the number of Internet address endings - called generic top-level domains (gTLDs) - from the current 22, which includes such familiar domains as .com, .org and .net.

“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,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.

New gTLDs will change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. Virtually every organization with an online presence could be affected in some way.

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.”

The decision to proceed with the gTLD program follows many years of discussion, debate and deliberation with the Internet community, business groups and governments. Strong efforts were made to address the concerns of all interested parties, and to ensure that the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet are not compromised.

ICANN will soon begin a global communications program to tell the world about this dramatic change in Internet names and to raise awareness of the opportunities afforded by new gTLDs. The application process will also use this period to elaborate on what is involved in applying for a new generic top-level domain.

Under the plan, new gTLDs applications to be accepted beginning on January 12.

The decision to launch the new gTLD program raised the curtain on ICANN’s 41st public meeting, taking place in Singapore. It is just one of the issues that will dominate the weeklong meeting.

On Wednesday, the focus will turn to cyber security with the inauguration in Singapore of a specially built “hardened” facility, the first of three around the world that are helping to secure the domain names of all countries.

The Singapore meeting will continue through the week and conclude on Friday with a public meeting of the Board of Directors.

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