New 'Brands' Approach May Lead to Major Internet Name Changes

By Ed Silverstein June 17, 2011

There may be a new, popular way for brand owners to identify themselves on the Internet if a proposal is approved by ICANN on Monday, according to media reports.

Reuters said that if ICANN (known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which coordinates Internet names, gives its OK during a meeting in Singapore, there will be a new way for Internet domains to be awarded.

It will allow for new kinds of names such as: “.apple” or “.coke,” according to Reuters.

Only 22 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) now exist under current rules, Reuters said. Examples are “.com,” “.org” and “.info.” There are also some 250 country-level domains like “.uk.”

But if the proposal is approved, several hundred new gTLDs will be added to the mix, Reuters said.

“The potential expansion of new gTLDs could mark one of the biggest changes ever to the Internet’s Domain Name System,” according to a statement from ICANN.

If the proposal is approved, it is believed that applications will start being accepted in January – for about 90 days – before closing again, maybe for years, Reuters said.

Applications will cost about $185,000, and individuals or organizations must show a legitimate reason for the name they are buying, Reuters adds.

Cities and communities are expected to apply, Reuters says.

The proposal will also let brands have increased control over how they are seen online, Reuters said.

It will also likely change how Google and other search engines identify search results.

"As a big brand, you ignore it at your peril," Theo Hnarakis, CEO of IT DBS, told Reuters. "We're advising people to buy their brands, park them and redirect visitors to their existing site, at the very least."

Reuters said that GTLDs, such as “.nyc,” may let smaller businesses claim names that are not available with ".com."

In other related news, TechZone360 reports that dignitaries in Qatar joined with ICANN officials in celebrating the launch of the lnternet's latest Arabic script top-level domain name, earlier this year.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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