The creation of new website domain suffixes by private companies has been approved in what is being seen as the biggest change for the online world in a quarter of a century.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) plans to dramatically increase the number of domain endings from the current 22. Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word, and be in any language.
ICANN will begin taking applications for the new domain names next year despite fears that opening up new suffixes based on corporate brands could cause confusion.
The organisation’s president and chief executive Rod Beckstrom said: “ICANN has opened the internet’s addressing system to the limitless possibilities of the human imagination. No one can predict where this historic decision will take us.”
Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, a California-based company that provides online branding services, told the AFP news agency after the decision was made at a meeting in Singapore: “This is the biggest change to domain names since the creation of dotcom 26 years ago.”
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