June 21st, 2011
04:00 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) –- Dot-anything.  The possibilities for your new web address are now practically endless.  And they don’t even need to be in English anymore. That’s because ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, voted Monday to relax the rules limiting domain names to the 22 that currently exist.

That means move over .com, .org and .gov.

You’ll be joined by .canon, .unicef and .paris.  These and several other known brands, organizations and cities have already said they’re going to apply.

While big names will be applying for the new web addresses between January and April 2012, I’ll wager you won’t be among them – unless  you have $185,000 to spend on the new domain name application fees (as much as I would like to, I can admit I won’t be applying for .inocencio).

Ben Crawford, CEO of London-based dotBrand Solutions, told me the high application fee is based on the non-profit organization’s own cost to evaluate applications.

Crawford said its not just that $185,000 to consider – which won’t be returned if you are turned down, by the way – but also the cost of preparing the application itself. That involves a detailed business plan, policy documents and likely a few lawyers to make sure the legalese is just right.

Preparation, application and website maintenance for your desired domain could cost more than $400,000, Crawford said.

That .com blog site you use for free is looking homier by the second isn’t it? Crawford expects ICANN will get hundreds, perhaps thousands, of applications. That’s not a huge number compared to the great matrix of internet sites that already exist in the world.

For companies with the means, however, it could be a virtual gold rush.  That could attract squatters, too.

Remember the dot-com boom of the 1990’s? Lots of people registered popular brand names and companies they had nothing to do with – just so they could sell at profit to a company down the line. But Crawford says there are checks and balances to try to keep the squatters at bay this time.

In particular, if one or more groups want the same domain name, it could go to auction.  So let’s say a hypothetical electronics group and a fruit group both want the domain name .apple. If they can’t work out an agreement, it would then go to the highest bidder. And any extra money, Crawford says, might go to training and education programs.

The internet address world as we know it has about one year left.  ICANN says new domain names will take effect in July 2012.  If you’ve got the money then get your application ready.  If you don’t, then just keep calling that free .com blog site you use home. It’s not going anywhere.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Gavin

    I think this is a great idea

    June 21, 2011 at 5:51 am |
  2. Pedobear


    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  3. dashworlds

    Even if you wanted to, ICANN won't consider/allow applications from individuals or sole proprietorships.....so play the TLD Game Without Spending $185,000 (plus potentially unlimited annual expenses).

    Right now, anyone can now create their own set of Top Level Domains at no cost and without reference to ICANN, simply by registering new Dashcom (instead of Dotcom) Domains.

    Dashcoms are memorable & relevant web addresses such as “business-com”, “hong-kong”, “fashion-statement” (available in any language, you can even use Facebook Emoticons like musical notes “♫♫-♫♫”).

    Totally outside ICANN's control and with users in over 90 countries worldwide, resolution is via an APP; although new ISP links are coming online to make that unnecessary.

    June 21, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  4. aroth

    Here's one for you: http://www.icann.scamthewealthyandshafteveryoneelse

    June 21, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  5. aroth

    Here's one we can all agree on: icann.scamthewealthyandshafteveryoneelse

    June 21, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  6. ScrnName

    Yes, because giving the people with the most money even MORE power to control any and all information is always a good idea. How many domains have Rupert Murdoch's lawyers & shell corporations signed up to buy already?

    Have ICANN seriously learned NOTHING from the past few hundred years about the benefits of free & open information, or do they just not care?? The last time this business model was employed was The Dark Ages, when the Church & royalty owned all the books.

    Here's a question: are they going to give ".amnestyinternational" away for free, or let the Iranian government buy it? Any chance those worthless old ".com" addresses will get cheaper? No. Are they seriously going to have the manpower to vett EVERY single application in the entire world for legitimacy? Doubtful. Will they apply a subjective touch to approving those they like, or who pay extra, or will they be open & egalitarian?

    Although there was a "gold rush" and "squatters" in the 1990s, a lucky few of whom made some cash, at least it was a level playing field for those with the foresight to make it work – not those who had the extra cash lying around.
    It also ushered in an unparalleled era of innovation, creativity and worldwide free expression (ok, also stupid crap & porn...). Good luck continuing that under the new system, especially in the developing world.

    Thanks, ICANN.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  7. luv2break

    i think this is useless...it doesnt even make sense....like u wanted to go to apple site..and the site is apple.apple....what the heck....

    June 21, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  8. Danamazonida

    Uh, Is the ICANN trying to arrange plus money through a Marketing game? Good idea! Worst part is just the major companies culld be benefit.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  9. Spekkie

    I believe impact will not be that large.... do you remember the release of .asia or .eu?
    Do you ever type in an address with one of those extensions?
    In the end .com will always be the most prestigious and most important extension.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  10. nomorebiggovernment

    I had/have no problem with domain squatters. They had the foresight to realize good real estate. Just like a real estate investor. It is not all about who has the most cash. but who can see the value, and grab the asset. And then work it or sell it. This is just " the highest bidder' system on this latest development. ICANN is screwing this one up.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  11. mariehernandez

    Totally outside ICANN's control and with users in over 90 countries worldwide, resolution is via an APP; although new ISP links are coming online to make that unnecessary. http://bit.ly/jIRtJ1

    June 22, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  12. kenny he

    1. you don't need a fortune in order to get yourown domain up online.
    2. you can get your own domain, for FREE @
    3. non-profit organization, is actually profit organization. think about it, what company will operate with no funds?
    4. " own cost to evaluate applications" $185,000 USD, what?!
    5. get yourself a free domain.

    July 2, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  13. joelle esther benyayer

    well i agree sometimes the creator is not the one cash the dollars in france got big trouble to know who get the right to get money strangely i do website in japonese hebreu russian gnglish myspace netvib netlog facebook in hebreu well a lot still no money strangely also for my ben yair humanities the hackers sometimes nside the big compagnies robbe and stolen ideas so this domain webstie creator like in music industry for the french sacem is risky without any lawyer to ask the advice some some work and some cash in france joelle esther benyayer

    July 3, 2011 at 8:43 am |
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