by ALEX KENNEDY
June 20, 2011
SINGAPORE (AP) - Internet minders 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.
"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.
High-profile entertainment, consumer goods and financial services companies will likely be among the first to apply for their own domain name in a bid to protect their brands, experts said.
"It will allow corporations to better take control of their brands," said Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT, which manages online brands for clients such as Volvo, LEGO and GlaxoSmithKline. "For example, .apple or .ipad would take customers right to those products."
The surge in domains should help alleviate some of the overlap of names in the most popular suffixes, especially ".com", which has 94 million sites registered.
There are currently 290 country suffixes, such as ".jp" for Japan and ".fr" for France, which typically are restricted to groups or individuals with a presence in the countries, and 22 open names that include recent additions such as ".tel" for telecommunications.
In March, ICANN approved ".xxx" for pornography, but some porn sites have declined to adopt the suffix, fearing it will make it easier for governments to ban them. Conservative groups opposed the ".xxx" name too, arguing it could attract children to adult sites.
Analysts said they expect between 500 to 1,000 new domain names, mostly companies and products, but also cities and generic names such as .bank or .hotel. Groups have formed to back ".sport" for sporting sites, and two conservationist groups separately are seeking the right to operate an ".eco" suffix.
ICANN plans to auction off domains if multiple parties have legitimate claims. However, it expects companies will likely strike deals among themselves to avoid a public auction.
"I think we'll see much more of that going on than see auctions generating circuses," Dengate Thrush said. "But there is that prospect that there will be a couple of identical applicants and applications."
The application process is arduous - the fee is $185,000 and the guidebook is 360 pages - and meant to prevent scammers from grabbing valuable domain names. ICANN will receive applications for new domains for 90 days beginning Jan. 12.
"It's a significant undertaking. We're calling it the Olympic bid," said Adrian Kinderis, chief executive of AusRegistry International, which helps companies to register domains and manages names such as ".au" for Australia.
"But it's worth it for corporations that have suffered from things like trademark infringement, and can now carve out a niche on the internet," Kinderis said.
ICANN said it has set aside up to $2 million to assist applicants from developing countries.
"The board's very enthusiastic about providing support for applicants from developing areas where the evaluation fee or access to technical expertise might be somewhat of a bar," ICANN senior vice president Kurt Pritz told reporters after the meeting.
ICANN said in a statement that it will mount a global publicity campaign to raise awareness of the opportunities of new domain names.
Learn more about Search Engine Optimization, the most effective form of online advertising.
Search Engine Marketing is the fastest growing advertising medium in the world, projected to become 10x more powerful and influential than traditional media outlets such as: network television, cable television, local television, network radio, local radio, satellite radio, national newspapers, local newspapers, magazines, billboards, direct mail, telemarketing and more.
Discover the most powerful and effective form of advertising, Search Engine Optimization.
An aside for consideration are the segments of Search Engine Optimization. Clarification is required in terms of paid search marketing, sponsored search advertising, pay per click, email marketing (spam), and the foundation of strategic internet marketing: Organic Search Engine Optimization - Organic SEO in some circles also referred to as Natural Search Engine Optimization - Natural SEO.
Key Organic Search Engine Optimization Facts:
- Keyword search is the 2nd most popular online activity, rapidly approaching the popularity of email retrieval.
- 90% of all new website visitors are delivered by a major search engine and/or directory.
- 98% of all keyword search activity results are powered by the big 4 search engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL.
- Keyword search results on Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL are all determined by a search engine spider and/or robot crawler.
- Recent internet marketing studies confirm that keyword searchers prefer the organic results at a 6 to 1 ratio vs. pay-per-click sponsored search advertising listings.
Is your corporate website being found early and often on the keywords and keyword phrases that best describe your products, services and industry?
Harness the power that our proven organic search engine optimization technologies can provide...
Contact the Peak Positions Organic SEO consulting specialists today.
Learn more about our client roster, one of the strongest in the SEO industry, and more importantly discover why our client-focused Organic Search Engine Optimization company maintains the highest client retention rate in the SEO industry.
"Our year over year order anniversary flowers revenues are climbing rapidly in a timid economy. If you are looking for an excellent SEO Company, we suggest Peak Positions" ...
SEO Case Study