ICANN starts domain name free-for-all

It's dot IT Blogwatch: in which we look forward to new and exciting top-level Internet domain names. Not to mention Bad Wolf... err, I mean Bad World...

Linda Rosencrance reports:

ICANN, the nonprofit group that manages the Internet Domain Name System, unanimously voted [Thursday] to begin the process of relaxing the rules for generic top-level domain names (gTLD). The action means that companies and other organizations eventually could run their own domains. For example, eBay Inc. could run the domain .ebay, and Microsoft Corp. could run the domain .microsoft ... Prices to register the new domain names, expected to be anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000, would most likely prohibit individuals from applying for new domain names. ICANN said the high fees would allow it to recoup the approximately $20 million it expects to spend on implementation of the new policy. Groups applying for new top-level domain names must also either prove they are technically able to operate Web sites or contract with a company that does. New gTLDs will probably start appearing by the end of 2009, ICANN said. more
More obvious examples from Frederic Lardinois:
Google, for example, could get a .google domain, or Coke products might be found under .coke ... this would be the most significant modification of the TLD naming system yet ... general terms such as .news or .sports would also become available for registration ... the domain name speculation business is going to be changed forever. Most interesting and generic .com names have long been taken. The new system, however, will bring an abundance of new domains, which might drive down prices for .com domains. This is surely going to upset a lot of speculators ... For the average Internet user, .com is the only domain on the Internet, with only .edu, .gov, .org, and .net having some traction as well. Not coincidentally, these (together with .mil) were also the first TLDs ... While some web services like del.icio.us were able to attract a considerable amount of users with their idiosyncratic domains, even del.icio.us finally bought delicious.com. more
Jacqui Cheng counts them pennies:
Registering the TLD will cost anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 ... This is no small beans—unless you're planning to fork over up to half a million dollars and put in the labor to manage everything that appears under the TLD, this task is probably best left to large organizations and governmental entities. The organization registering the TLD will also be responsible for determining whether it will be restricted to certain types of sites or open to the public ... Still, ICANN apparently believes that changing its system will help foster huge amounts of growth in online properties. more
John Paczkowski invokes LOLcats:
You think Internet domain namespace is an unwieldy, unnavigable mess now? Just wait ... ICANN’s domain, for example, could become MassiveTechnical.Problems, Total.Chaos, Utter.Confusion or Cluster.F … well, you see my point ... when the adult-entertainment industry catches wind of this … well, let’s just hope .xxx will be the least of our worries. How many slang terms for sexual anatomy can you think of? more
As does Sean Maguire:
A second proposal, that would introduce domain names written in scripts such as Asian and Arabic, was also approved ... ICANN has been working on the move for nearly six years. Some companies have used the current system to suit their own needs with country domains, such as .tv , which was originally created to designate the Polynesian island of Tuvalu ... Expect the new system to come replete with contentious battles and bidding wars as companies move to secure domain names based on their intellectual property. The new system is anticipated to come in the next year, so get ready domain buyers! more
All is Glenn Fleishman:
ICANN ... is about to let you get a little more top heavy with your vanity, if you have deep enough pockets ... Many years ago, when I worked at Amazon.com, I saw that TLD proposals were underway, and I suggested Amazon sponsor .book so that an ISBN number plus .book would result in a search result on the site. That wasn't possible then, it turned out, but would be possible under this new regime ... Is this change necessary? Hard to say. It can be quite difficult to find the appropriate domain name for your business, non-profit organization, social site, or personal domain because of the exhaustion of generic words ... I could also see some interesting cooperative work emerge. Say 5,000 Mac users wanted to register .fanboy - to take back the pejorative - and were willing to pony up $20 each, if the TLD cost were $100,000. That's certainly do-able. more
Chris Morrison speculates: [You're fired -Ed.]
It could change the Internet landscape for startups — most notably, domain speculators like Demand Media and Marchex (NASDAQ: MCHX). Those companies, and other speculators, have plowed billions of dollars into millions of hot domain names, sometimes backed by high-profile investors like Oak Investment Partners or, for Marchex, public shareholders. The idea is generally to buy up lots of obvious domain names, like business.com, which held an early sales record at $7.5 million ... Those domains are worth so much because of a kind of traffic called type-in traffic, which is distinct from search traffic from Google or linked traffic. Right now, if a web surfer — especially an unsavvy one — wants to find, say, exchange rates, they might type exchangerates.com in hopes of finding an exchange calculator (they’d be disappointed) ... they both rely on one crucial assumption: that the dominant TLDs, primarily .com, continue to be the first thing people type in when they’re looking for something, whether it’s exchange rates or Disney.com. So what happens if ICANN manages to reeducate Internet users, and popularize sales of new TLDs? The simple answer is that a lot of speculators will lose a lot of their own, and their investors’ money. more
But Larry Anderson despairs:
I hope they have good oversight. Imagine the chaos of tlds with: .exe .dll .prg .php .c0m (or other foreign symbol for o .txt .pdf .conf .doc .txt .xls .ppt .jpg .gif .tif .mp3 .mpg .htm(l) .png. more
And finally...

Buffer overflow:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 21 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

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