Domain name rule change paves way for brand names

Companies will be able to turn their brands into web addresses after the strict rules on so-called “top-level” domain names, such as .com or .uk were relaxed by the internet regulator. Members of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) yesterday (June 26) voted unanimously for the changes.

A second proposal to introduce domain names written in scripts such as Asian and Arabic was also approved. The rules also mean that individuals will be able to register a domain based on their own name as long as they can show a “business plan and technical capacity”.

ICANN member Peter Dengate Thrush says the decision is of “historic importance”. The regulator has been working towards relaxing the rules for nearly six years, with the new system due to be introduced next year.

At the moment top-level domains are limited to countries, such as .uk (UK), as well as to commerce (.com) or institutional organisations, such as .net or .org.

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