Seven New Suffixes Approved for Internet Addressesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Nov 17, 2000 - 04:12 AM
Seven New Suffixes Approved for Internet Addresses By Anick Jesdanun The Associated Press
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. (AP) - Coming soon to a Web browser near you: flowers.biz, health.info and, perhaps, bill.gates.name. Relief for the dot-com name crunch is on the way. Seven alternative online suffixes should be available next year following an Internet board's approval of the first addressing expansion since the 80s.
The Web address suffixes approved Thursday are .info for general information, .biz for businesses, .name for individuals, .pro for professionals, .museum for museums, .coop for business cooperatives and .aero for the aviation industry.
They will join .com, .net and .org as generic suffixes available worldwide.
"Dot-com is almost out of gas," said Ken Hansen of NeuStar Inc., which joined in the winning bid for .biz. "It's time to refill the tank so good names are available for users and businesses."
Thursday's decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers capped a half-decade of discussion about how to relieve demand for addresses ending in .com. With some 20 million .com names registered worldwide, easy-to-remember addresses have been all but used up.
ICANN must now negotiate contracts with companies or groups that made the winning proposals. That should occur by year's end, and getting the databases running could take a few more months.
More suffixes are expected, although ICANN skirted such questions as when and how.
"We haven't discussed anything," said Vinton Cerf, who was elected chairman of ICANN after the meeting. "This is unexplored territory."
First, Cerf said, the board must be convinced the new suffixes do not introduce side effects.
The new suffixes are similar to adding area codes to the national phone system to accommodate growth. They could make more simple addresses available and Web sites easier to find.
A computer user, for example, might someday type ford.museum to reach the Henry Ford Museum's Web site instead of www.hfmgv.org. Ford.com belongs to Ford Motor Co., while ford.net and ford.org are claimed though not used.
The new suffixes could also begin a new Internet land rush, with speculators and trademark holders competing to claim the best names first.
New suffixes have been under consideration since the mid-1990s, but there were disputes over how many and which ones. ICANN was designated by the Commerce Department in 1998 as the overseer of online addresses.
Mike Roberts, ICANN's chief executive, said Thursday's action proved naysayers wrong. Nevertheless, he acknowledged legal challenges are possible, given three dozen applicants "in various degrees of unhappiness."
But some of the rejected applicants simply planned to try again later.
"We're kind of disappointed, but we understand," said Michael J. Summers, whose location-based .geo proposal was rejected. "At least we got very broad visibility."
For this week's meeting, companies or groups proposing new suffixes paid a nonrefundable $50,000 fee for the chance to become record keepers for the new names.
As registry operators, they would be able to charge a few dollars per name registered, an amount that could add up to millions of dollars for the most popular suffixes.
VeriSign Global Registry Services currently functions as the registry for .com, .net and .org, and ICANN's desire to add suffixes was in part to foster competition among registries.
In all, there were 47 applications for new suffixes.
Desiring to steer clear of content regulation, the board rejected .kids for children, .xxx for adults and .health for prescreened health sites. They also dismissed .tel for telephone numbers and .yp for yellow page directories.
The board strongly considered .web but changed it to .info at the last minute because of concerns another company has already been unofficially registered.
ICANN also rejected .iii for individuals, partly out of concern that it is unpronounceable.
On the Net:
Webcast of meeting: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu
-- Carl Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 17, 2000