Internet body approves domain name big bang

PARIS: Web regulators Thursday voted to allow the creation of thousands of new domain names, from .paris to .Pepsi, in one of the biggest shake-ups in Internet history, a French web official said. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the change at its annual general meeting in Paris, according to Loic Damilaville, deputy head of the French domain name body, the AFNIC. The regulator also voted to allow domain names to be lodged in languages such as Arabic or Mandarin Chinese, he said. The overhaul is expected to radically change the way users navigate the Internet. Currently all web addresses fall under one of a set number of top-level domain names. There are 240 .country or .territory domains, and some 20 generic ones, from .com, .net and .org to .gov, .edu or .aero. Under the new system, the web’s 1.3 billion users would be able from early 2009 to buy an unlimited number of generic addresses based on common words, brands, company names, cities and proper names, according to ICANN. To avoid chaos, Damilaville said the ICANN also adopted a motion designed to “limit the abusive registration of new domain names.” With the stock of available web addresses under the current IPv4 protocol set to run out by 2011, ICANN has been under pressure to find a solution for burgeoning demand. The popular online trading site eBay is one of the many companies that wants to have its own domain name. Broad product groups such as .bank or .car are also likely contenders. Cities could benefit too from this liberalisation, with the German capital hoping for .berlin or New York for .nyc. Some cities or regions have been bending the rules already to get the domain they want. The city of Los Angeles has for example signed a deal with the Southeast Asian state Laos to use its .la domain. Afp


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