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Will you take advantage of new domain rules next year?

11/22/2012 | Internet hosting |

The time is rapidly approaching when you'll be able to take advantage of a relaxation of the rules governing generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that have until now restricted the choices available to websites. Previously, companies have been limited to a select few gTLDs when setting up a website, such as .com, .net and country specific suffixes. However, from next year, the body that governs the system, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), will be offering corporations the chance to buy their own gTLD.

It could give many businesses the opportunity to make their web presence more unique and memorable, while it's also been claimed that the system is in need of an overhaul due to the vast number of websites in use today. Earlier this year, former chairman of Icann's board of director's Peter Dengate Thrush told BBC News: "No-one would design a domain name system now for several billion users just using a couple of names that we started the system with in 1985."

The new system is set to come into force in May 2013 when the first batch of gTLDs is assigned and could lead to significant changes in how many companies use web addresses. Organisations will have to pay $185,000 (€143,800) for control of a gTLD, which they will be able to assign and sell to other companies as they see fit, provided their request is approved.

Since applications were opened up for the new system in the summer, nearly 2,000 requests have been received by Icann, including such suffixes as .bet, .news and .music. However, some of these have proved more controversial than others. BBC News reports a panel representing around 50 of the world's governments has been assessing the applications received so far and highlighted more than 250 that could pose problems.

Some of these refer to groups of people, such as .roma, .islam and .africa, while others such as .health, .insurance and .casino cover extremely broad sectors that need to be assigned to the most appropriate bodies who will use them responsibly. Although Icann is not bound by the panel's recommendations, it will have to provide "well-reasoned arguments" if it chooses to deny any rejection requests.

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