The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved what is being seen as the biggest expansion of Internet domains for 40 years.
The expansion will allow any combination of letters to be used at the end of a domain name. So, instead of being limited to the current 21 top-level domains such as .com or .org, you will be visiting sites ending in .geek, .nyc, .cola etc. This will also allow for other languages to be used including Chinese, Japanese and Arabic.
Paul Twomey, CEO of ICANN said:
The Board today accepted a recommendation from its global stakeholders that it is possible to implement many new names to the Internet, paving the way for an expansion of domain name choice and opportunity … The potential here is huge. It represents a whole new way for people to express themselves on the Net … It’s a massive increase in the ‘real estate’ of the Internet.
The new domains will not be available to everyone, however, and don’t expect to be buying them up for a few dollars. As these are top-level domains any buyer will need to run it themselves meaning having their own servers and all the other required equipment. On top of that, an application for one of these domains will require proof of a business plan using the domain and proof that the would-be owner has the facilities to run it.
Prices are also expected to be very high with figures of between US$100,000 and US$1 million being predicted per domain. ICANN will be using the money it receives to put towards the estimated US$10 million it is costing them to allow these new top-level domains.