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Unofficial top-level domain names now available

Companies are being offered the opportunity to register 20 new 'unofficial' top-level domain names by Californian start-up New.net.
Written by Sally Watson, Contributor

Companies are being offered the opportunity to register 20 new 'unofficial' top-level domain names by Californian start-up New.net.

Capitalising on the disappointment of the seven new top-level domain names announced last year by governing body Icann, New.net is registering names such as dot-kids, dot-mp3, dot-shop and dot-xxx. In a move likely to outrage Icann, the official creator of all new top-level domains, New.net is using proprietary software for users to access the new addresses without having to go through official channels. New.net is not the first company to sell top-level domains outside of the authoritative domain name system, but it is the most high-profile. The domains are being sold on a first-come-first served basis for $25 a year. Last year, Icann rejected several of the same top-level domains including dot-free, dot-kids, dot-law and dot-shop. Customers of some US ISPs such as Earthlink and Excite@Home will automatically route users to the new domains so they can see the sites. Other web users will have to visit http://www.new.net to download the software upgrade before their browsers will recognise the command. New.net claims companies registering a dot-kids domain will need to prove they contain children-friendly content and comply with America's Children Online Privacy Protection Act. The launch coincided with Icann's admittance that the seven new top-level domains it announced in November, including dot-biz and dot-info, are likely to be delayed well beyond the July deadline. Icann vice-president Louis Touton blamed a number of reasons for the delay, including the current economic uncertainty. The domains on offer from New.net are: dot-chat; dot-club; dot-family; dot-free; dot-game; dot-GmbH; dot-hola; dot-inc; dot-kids; dot-law; dot-ltd; dot-med; dot-mp3; dot-tech; dot-travel; dot-shop; dot-soc; dot-sport; dot-video; and dot-xxx. We'll have more on this story - and in particular Icann's less than enthusiastic response - tomorrow
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