Brand owners will soon be able to operate their own parts of the Web — such as .apple, .coke or .marlboro — after the biggest shake-up yet in how Internet domains are awarded.
After years of preparation and wrangling, ICANN, the body that coordinates Internet names, approved the move at a special board meeting in Singapore on Monday.
Prior to the vote, just 22 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) existed — .com, .org and .info are a few examples — plus about 250 country-level domains like .uk or .cn. After the change, several hundred new gTLDs are expected to be created.
The move is seen as a huge opportunity for brands to gain more control over their on-line presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites — and a danger for those who fail to take advantage.
It will also change the way search engines like Google find results, and the way organizations use search-engine optimization to improve the visibility of their websites in search results.
“As a huge brand, you ignore it at your peril,” states Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Australian domain name-registration firm Melbourne IT DBS, which advises companies and other organizations worldwide about how to do business online.
“We’re advising people to purchase their brands, park them and redirect visitors to their existing site, at the very least,” states Hnarakis, whose more than 3,500 customers include Volvo, Lego and GlaxoSmithKline.
Applications for new domain names are likely to open in January for a 90-day period before closing again, potentially for years.
It will cost $185,000 to apply, and individuals or organizations will have to show a legitimate claim to the name they are buying. ICANN is taking on hundreds of consultants to whom it will outsource the job of adjudicating claims.
“The commercial participants are the most active, aggressive and articulate members of our society,” ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom told Reuters in a recent interview, saying trademark owners in particular were anxious about how the new regime would work.
As well as huge brands, organizations such as cities or other communities are expected to apply.
GTLDs such as .nyc, .london or .food could provide opportunities for many smaller businesses to grab names no longer available at the .com level — like bicycles.london or indian.food.
The new domains will also change how ICANN works, as it will have a role in policing how gTLDs are operated, purchased and sold. Until now, it has overseen names and performed some other tasks but has been tiny involved in the Internet’s thornier issues.
To prevent so-called cyber-squatting, gTLD owners will be expected to maintain operational sites. ICANN will have to approve transfers to new owners at the top level.
source : www.foxnews.com
Submited at Monday, June 20th, 2011 at 7:00 am on Uncategorized by samantha
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