Ten groups pitch new top level domains

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has received applications for 10 new sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs), helping to expand the Internet's pool of Web site addresses by catering to narrower online communities.

The proposed sTLDs include ".mobi," the new mobile TLD proposed by nine industry players aiming to advance the delivery of mobile content and services; ".asia," sponsored by China's DotAsia Organization Ltd.; ".jobs," sponsored by the U.S. Society for Human Resource Management; and ".mail," sponsored by the U.K.'s Anti-Spam Community Registry.

The applications came in response to a request for proposals ICANN made last December and are now up for review in May by an independent evaluation panel, the group said Friday. A public comment period runs from April 1 to April 30.

ICANN, the nonprofit organization that oversees technical matters related to the Internet, made the call for new TLD proposals as part of an effort to expand the number of communities addressed by the Net's domain name system, it said.

The call for sponsored TLDs is a first step toward defining a streamlined process for implementing generic TLDs such as .net and .com, according to ICANN.

The group has said previously that sponsored TLDs are easier to implement than generic ones, which operate under policies established by the global Net community under the ICANN process. With the specialized, sponsored TLDs, the sponsor carries out some of the policy-formation responsibilities, ICANN said.

Other proposed sTLDs announced Friday include ".post," from the Universal Postal Union; ".tel," proposed by both New York's Pulver.com Inc. and London's Telname Ltd.; ".travel," from New York's Travel Partnership Corp., ".xxx," from Canada's International Foundation for Online Responsibility; and ".cat" from Fundació puntCAT.

After evaluation by the independent panel, qualifying sTLD applicants will be eligible to enter technical and commercial negotiations with ICANN, in Marina del Rey, California. The group did not say how many new sTLDs it plans to adopt. Existing sTLDs include .aero for the aerospace industry and .museum.

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