ICANN to ramp domain name variations dramatically: Business headaches likely

Summary:ICANN voted to "dramatically increase" the number of Internet address endings from the 22 today. In other words, domains such as .com, .org and .net can multiply into new monikers that can be created in any language or script. Businesses will have to assess ICANN's new system.

ICANN, the organization that issues domain names, has voted to "dramatically increase" the number of Internet address endings from the 22 today. In other words, domains such as .com, .org and .net can multiply into new monikers that can be created in any language or script.

Rod Beckstrom, CEO of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), said in a statement that opening up the domain name system will "better serve all of mankind." But early reaction appeared mixed.

CNet News' Stephen Shankland noted that ICANN's move is going to be a trademark headache. Businesses are likely to structure their online presence in multiple ways, say IBM.think or Lenovo.think. Who exactly will get that "think" domain? And in how many scripts would you need to reserve "think"?

Domain names can end in almost anything ranging from a city, to term like .eco or .green and native scripts from around the world. How many of these terms do companies need to lock down?

Rest assured these multiple domain names will mean more ways to try and game the system. ICANN, which has a meaty guide on the new domain names, will take applications starting Jan. 12, 2012 through April 12, 2012 to operate these domain names.

The backdrop to the ICANN move is that the organization is trying to be more autonomous and global. Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia and a councilor on ICANN's GNSO (generic names supporting organization) committee, told ZDNet Asia that the group remains under U.S. purview, but that power is moral only. ICANN has increasingly gone against the U.S. and is taking input from multiple governments.

A company has multiple moving parts to consider. An enterprise like Boeing may have to reserve .airplane, .Dreamliner, .777 or any other product related terms. Meanwhile, other companies, say Coca Cola, will have to research domain names in specific scripts. A global brand like Coca Cola would probably want every country covered.

Topics: Networking, Browser

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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