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Web addresses to get more leeway

Online addresses would soon look a lot more diversified as the organisation that oversees web identities is expected to approve a proposal to create an unlimited number of so-called top-level domains.

business Updated: Jun 26, 2008 14:47 IST

Online addresses would soon look a lot more diversified as the organization that oversees web identities is expected to approve a proposal to create an unlimited number of so-called top-level domains the familiar suffixes like ".Com" at the end of Web addresses.

Under the plan, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will allow organizations to apply for any top-level domain, a media report said on Thursday.

Businesses, for example, could use brand names such as ".Ibm" or ".Ebay" in their Web addresses. Cities could sign up for names like ".Nyc" or ".Berlin," the Wall Street Journal reported.

It will also be possible to apply to use more general terms, such as ".News" or ".Sports," to define sites associated with groups or categories of information.

ICANN, a nonprofit group that acts as regulator for the Internet, expects the change to spur the creation of many more Web sites -- and to allow individuals and organizations to express their identities in useful new ways, the report said.

"This is the biggest change to the way people find each other on the Internet since its inception," Paul Twomey, ICANN's president and chief executive officer was quoted as saying.

Registering a new top-level domain will cost somewhere between USD 100,000 and USD 500,000, the group said.

When the current addressing structure for the Internet was first developed in the 1980s, few anticipated that the Web would grow into the global communications and commerce network it is today.

At the time, the Internet's overseers believed that a handful of categories ".Com" for commercial sites, ".Edu" for educational intuitions, and ".Gov" for government were adequate, the journal said.