Internet Addresses Getting a Makeover in 2012

Ryan Whitwam

Plans are moving ahead to radically alter the way web addresses are structured in the coming years. Starting as early as 2012, the importance of .com might begin to wane as Generic Top Level Domains (GTLD) begin to show up. Instead of going to a .com address, the domain could be the name of the company. For example support.microsoft might exist as a legitimate address.

It's going to be a different world. Companies that use GTLDs would not just buy  domain from a registrar. They would have to apply to Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) directly. It's going to cost some serious change to apply. The application fee is nearly $200,000. But you better believe people will pay it to get very common words, like .search or .hotel as their own personal domain.

Unlike the wild west of domain names now, ICANN will be working to ensure branded names, like IBM, McDonald's,  or Google, aren't bought up by third parties. There is a trademark dispute system in place for thise times when two entities have legitimate claim to the same name. Do you think .com will go away, or are GTLDs going to just be a sort of shorthand?

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