A global body that charts the course of the Internet voted Monday to allow the creation of new website domain suffixes by private companies, enabling major firms to replace ".com" with their own brand.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal at a meeting in Singapore despite fears that opening up new suffixes could cause some confusion.
"This is the biggest change to domain names since the creation of ‘.com’ 26 years ago," said Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, a California-based company that provides online branding services.
Under the changes, businesses would no longer be restricted to the list of generic top level domains (gTLDs) that include .com, .net and .org when they apply to register a website address. Industry observers say global giants such as Apple, Toyota and BMW, to cite examples from various regions, could be in the vanguard of launching websites with their own domain names.
It will potentially help the big brands to have their names as their domain names. For example, Pepsi can have domains ending in .pepsi such as miranda.pepsi. It can be used by regions in such a way that the regional names are listed as the suffix. For example, .kerala where domain names such as business.kerala, travel.kerala, tourism.kerala etc… can be more relevant.
By the introduction of these domain names, the entire online business model may change and the way how the search engines work will also change.
With a price tag of $185,000, creating a new domain won’t be cheap or easy. ICANN — short for the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers — will make the final decisions on new domains. The group requires that applicants be "established public or private organizations," with the necessary technical capability to keep a domain running. This is, to a great extent, an option for keeping the domain name traders away.
Which are the brands you would like to see with their own top level domain name?