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Not Just Dot-Com, But Dot-Yournamehere

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced in Singapore today that they will allow nearly any word in any language to be an internet address suffix. The company hopes for “innovation in ways we can’t imagine.” Rather than dot-com, how would you like to see dot-slashdot, or dot-facebook?

“The most significant change to the Internet, really, since it was created. Once this is set up, the theory is, or the hope is, this is going to lead to innovation in ways we can’t imagine,” said Peter Dengate-Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s board of directors.

Organizations will apparently pay $185,000 to apply for what is called a “top-level” domain name such as a dot-com and dot-org. ICANN plans on allowing domain names such as dot-Starbucks or dot-Nike. ICANN’s chairman argues that the fee is modest because “it’s not the price of a domain name. This is to create a registry that … can sell and manage millions and even hundreds of millions of domain names. You’re talking a reasonably serious business investment.”

Analysts are for the idea and are claiming that major companys and brands will benefit from the new domain names. “Just about any big-brand company wants to have as much control over their Web presence as they can, and this gives them a way to do it without yielding to the dot-com primary,” said Jeff Ernst, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

For example, Canon could acquire dot-Cannon and even dot-camera, and potentially create photo-sharing web sites grouped with those domain names. “So not only is Canon now going to be dot-Canon, but Canon can now issue secondary domains to every one of its camera owners, and what they might very well do is embed a chip in their cameras that link that camera owner to their ID so that as they’re taking photos they could just be automatically uploading photos to a photo-sharing site. I mean, that’s just one possibility,” Ernst added.

But there are those who think the idea is a big waste of time and money. “Canon.com works fine, as far as I’m concerned. The real issue isn’t even dot-com versus dot-camera in the long run. It’s let’s use Google,” said Esther Dyson, the former and founding chair of ICANN.

No word yet on when this will go into effect.

What do you guys think? What kind of domain name would you invest in if you were for the idea?

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