Next year the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) plans to allow a spectacular increase in so called top-level internet domains (TLDs) according to the Financial Times.

Today, there are 268 top-level domain names including generic ones such as .com, .org, .net and country specific ones such as .uk, .fr and let’s not forget the rather successful .eu domain.

Some say the planned move by ICANN could spell chaos, while others argue that some of the proposed new TLDs will help save the environment. The Vatican raised the issue already in March of this year pointing out the “perils” of allowing new domain names such as .catholic, .islam, .buddhist etc, and warned of the “bitter disputes” religion-themed TLDs could cause.

What the new top-level domains will mean for the internet as a whole is very difficult to predict, but if one thing is for certain it is that it will lead to some mindboggling questions of ownership. Who gets the rights to, for instance, the .europe, or .football, or .publicaffairs, or .president top-level domains (I’m sure you can think of more thought-provoking examples!)? ICANN expects an initial wave of 500 new TLDs as early as the first quarter of 2010.

Keen to get your own TLD? Well, all you need to do is be patient, wait until they go on sale next year, and cough up the required $185,000…

– Emil

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