New names end dot-coms’ grip

The newly-announced range of domain names should mean an end to the “unhealthy” obsession with dot-coms, say Web naming experts.

A range of new website address suffixes, including dot-biz, dot-info and dot-name, were given the green light last week by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), created in 1998. The intention is to reduce overcrowding in the dot-com domain market, much of which has been cornered by US companies.

NetNames marketing director David Wood says: “It starts to make the market freer because there has been close to a monopoly with dot-com.”

There are about 19 million registered dot-coms and Wood does not see the move as the end of the line for the suffix. “I’m sure it will continue to be valuable, but this is like a new surname – to date, everybody has been called Smith. Some of the more exclusive Internet addresses may drop in value because there’s going to be more property on the market. But many dot-coms are a bit of a sideshow: they’re not really brands.”

Global Gold marketing director Mike Adams comments: “We’ll be advising our clients to register all relevant names – the obvious and the not-so-obvious – to protect them from competitors trying to divert their traffic.”

Among other new domains listed by ICANN are dot-pro, dot-museum, dot-aero, for the aerospace industry, and dot-coop for co-operatives.

ICANN has been the focus of intense lobbying efforts over recent months. But not everyone was successful. Suffixes included for consideration but ultimately rejected includes dot-union, dot-web, dot-kids and dot-xxx.

The new addresses could appear on the Internet by spring 2001, says ICANN.

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