For the past 26 years, since the .com domain name suffix was introduced, people got used to online naming conventions but a vote to allow a wide range of new suffixes could see all that change radically.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has voted in favour of dramatically increasing the number of allowable domain name suffixes way above the current number of 22. The new ruling means that companies, government bodies, cities or even individuals, will be able to apply for pretty much any ending they desire, in any language they want. "ICANN has opened the internet's addressing system to the limitless possibilities of the human imagination," said Rod Beckstrom, president and chief executive officer for the group. "No one can predict where this historic decision will take us." The system will be initially opened up to cities and corporations early next year and applications will have to be accompanied by a fee of around $185,000 (£114,000) and they will need to show a legitimate claim to the name. The vote was passed by 13 vote to one with two abstentions.
There are currently 22 general Top Level Domain (gTLD) names such as the familiar .com, .org and .net as well as the 250 or so country code suffixes such as .de or .fr. The new suffixes could include anything from .google to .cocacola and of course .trustedreviews. The decision to proceed with the gTLD program follows many years of discussion, debate and deliberation with the Internet community, business groups and governments. The Applicant Guidebook, a rulebook explaining how to apply for a new gTLD, went through seven revisions to incorporate more than 1,000 comments from the public. "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."
A global campaign will begin later this year to inform the public of the change in the system and applications for the new suffixes will be accepted from 12 January, 2012.