Domain of Domains Broadening Horizons

Dennis Faas's picture

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has decided to radically expand the choices of domain names that can be assigned. Two new proposals to the regulatory group were recently considered: a) allowing non-Latin characters (e.g. Russian, Chinese, Arabic, etc.) and b) domains that consist of any letter or number combination up to 64 characters in length. (Source:

The proposal to consider non-Latin characters will be tested before final approval.

The proposal to open up domain names was approved. The change was initiated by concerns that all the meaningful domain names in the English language have already been bought up. The new regulations will open up high-level domain names as well. This will allow completely open-ended domain name suffices beyond the .com, .biz, .net and so forth that exist now. Potentially, the new rules would allow names like: getanother.ipod, pepsi.cola, and a wide range of expletives -- e.g. whatthe.f--k.

Not all words would qualify. Domains that conflict with trademarks (e.g. .microsoft) or names that are too similar to existing domain terms (e.g. .kom) or country domains (e.g. .finland, .france) would not be allowed. Names that might cause public conflict or are moral threats would be referred to an as-yet-to-be-named board for consideration.

Simply because the naming scheme will be opened up does not mean that it will be easy to get a new high-level name. Getting a top-level domain (e.g. .xxx) would require the applicant to prove they have the ability and staffing to manage the sizable technical task of controlling it. The fee structure may also change -- high level domains may start at 6-figure numbers or be auctioned off. (Source:

The ICANN decision is viewed as a landmark by some groups, but not everyone is impressed. There are those that argue that top-level domain names are almost becoming irrelevant. Using any of the major search engines, they say, will yield the right name -- whatever it is. Also, companies that make anti-spam software could now have a major new filtering problem. Domain registrars like and, however, can look forward to a huge bonanza of new name registrations.

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