From next January, companies can apply to ICANN for any domain name they wish in a language of their choice, for a fee of $185,000 (£115,000). The move means businesses around the world will be able to apply for their own web real estate to market their brands.
Currently there are 22 internet domain names (also called generic top-level domains) including .com, .org and .net. Now brands and companies can select their preferred domain name, which could see URLs such as .nike, .apple and .coke.
Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s board of directors, said, “Today’s decision will usher in a new internet age. We’ve provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”
ICANN is to launch a global campaign in the coming weeks to build awareness of the changes being made and the opportunities that will arise from them.
Applications for new domain names will open on 12 January 2012 through to 12 April 2012.
The ICANN board vote is the culmination of a six-year negotiation process conducted with the internet businesses and governments.
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