The Next Big Thing On Internet: The .whatever address

Even less than half a century after the launch of “.com” the organization that provides Internet addresses is now relaxing some of the laws and letting certain suffixes used after brands, hobbies, political causes and anything that comes to the mind. Therefore taking advantage of the approved guidelines, for instance, Apple can sign up for addresses ending with “.ipad” or Citi could use “.bank”.

The Next Big Thing On Internet: The .whatever address

The relaxation of these laws is the largest alteration to the system of internet addresses ever since they came into being in 1984. At present people are only used to “.com” and “.net” suffixes but just within a year hundreds of different suffixes can be introduced across the world for years to come.

“This is the start of a whole new phase for the Internet,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the California nonprofit organization in charge of Internet addresses.

ICANN Vote 2011

Icann board members vote in a plan to expand the number of possible domain endings, currently limited to just 22. Photograph: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

The unique addresses however come with a price, $185,000 just to apply and $25,000 per year to retain it, whereas addresses with the common “.com” costs less than $10 per year. According to ICANN, it took as much as tens of millions of dollars to come up with the guidelines for suffixes, review applications and address any issues. Although the price is steep, the company states that it hopes just to get even. It has also put aside around $2 million to finance the applications from developing countries. This plan which is about 350 pages long, took around six years to be finalized. Prior to 1998, most of the Internet suffixes were given by the United States. However, now board members of ICANN come from all continents of the planet, relieving the pressure from the US government. ICANN has developed a list of methods for parties to bring forth their objections to application for trademark, or for any other issues.

The growth in address can give rise to many opportunities for businesses to publicize their labels and enable all kinds of niche communities to be successful over the internet, but can cause disorder too. Also the different suffixes will not make a great deal of difference, since majority of people use search engines to find what they are looking for and not addresses.

Applications for new suffixes will be accepted by ICANN from Jan 12th. Acceptance of the application depends on various factors like conflicts with trademark, morality or more. The ones rejected will have to be reviewed in detail to see if they qualify.

Juan is a Design & Tech Blogger with strong interest in digital art, human computer interaction, enterprise system and system automation.

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