Singapore—ICANN's board approved a plan that will overhaul the Internet's domain name system. The overhaul will introduce a massive increase in the number of Internet address endings—called generic top-level domains—from the current 22, which include .com, .org and .net.
With the change, ICANN said in a press release, Internet addresses will be able to end “with almost any word in any language.”" Companies will be able to create Internet addresses that could end with, for instance, .brand.
Under the approved plan, applications for new gTLDs will be accepted beginning Jan. 12. The new, expanded domain opportunities are aimed at established corporations, which will have to pay an $185,000 application fee to register a new gTLD.
“Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, ICANN chairman, in a statement. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”
Jeff Ernst, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, is bullish on the opportunities represented by the new domain names, but he hasn't found many marketers who agree. On his blog, Ernst wrote, “Many marketing leaders I've talked with look at this as a nuisance and are skeptical about whether Internet users will embrace” the new domain names.