Internet domain name overlords ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) have voted on and approved today to open up the world of domain endings to include just about anything a person's heart desires. The margin was 13-1 with two abstaining.
Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are currently limited to 22 across the internet. They include your basic .com, .org and .net as well as some more specific endings you have probably seen around the interwebs like .uk and .eu.
Now, the ICANN will be lifting almost all the restrictions on gTLDs.
Not only will domain registers be able to choose almost any word in the English language, but the ICANN will also approve domain names in any sort of characters - like Cyrillic or Kanji.
The implications of this decision are far-reaching, as not only will products and trademarks become suitable gTLDs, but so will basic, generic words. Large corporations are no doubt already scrambling to figure out strategies for the new domain names. Some of the first of these new gTLDs you see may very well be ones like .coke, .apple or even product names like .camry or .bigmac.
Or what about the generic terms? Which companies will be the first ones to register domains like .computer, .phone or .car? Imagine all the restaurants who would love to grab .food. TacoBell.food? McDonalds.food?
It will most likely be corporations filing for these new domain names, as there will be a charge of $185,000 to apply. This high cost should prevent your average Joe from just collecting inventive domain names.
"Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age," said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN's Board of Directors. "We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration."
Not everyone agrees with this sunny outlook of creativity. According to Reuters, the lone dissenter in the vote has some major concerns about the lifting of restrictions. Dengate Thrush thinks that more time is needed to discuss the plan with government officials. He is afraid that something like .nazi could incense some groups around the world.
Nevertheless, ICANN will start accepting applications for these new gTLDs on January 12th, 2012. This application period will run until April 12th.
I, for one, am curious to see just how creative these gTLDs can be. I can only imagine the interesting ones that will emerge from the XXX world.