For a $US50,000 application fee, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will consider proposals to expand the number of top-level domains.
Top-level domains (TLDs) are the suffixes such as .com, .org, and .net that append URLs (universal resource locators) on the Internet. There's no guarantee that ICANN will accept proposals to add a new TLD, but at least 29 companies, organisations and individuals have thus far expressed an interest in becoming the registering agent for new suffixes like .web, .inc and .fam.
ICANN will accept applications from September 5 to October 2 from any organisation, and then will take public comments on the matter for two weeks before deciding which domains to accept. Details for applying, including criteria for approval, will be available August 15, according to the ICANN Web site.
ICANN was formed in late 1998 to take over management of the Internet's domain name system, IP (Internet Protocol) address number allocation and protocols.
The $50,000 application fee is non-refundable, which could leave cash-strapped organisations unable to make TLD proposals.
The fee will offset costs for performing technical, financial, business, and legal analyses according to ICANN's Web site. ICANN is a nonprofit corporation. ICANN representatives could not be reached for comment about the registration fee and the registration process.
Efforts by companies like Microsoft to quickly register addresses which contain variations on its name add another element to the question of what TLDs will win acceptance and how they will be used. "Cybersquatting" cases where copywritten names are registered as Web addresses by non-copyright holders rage in US courts and before World Intellectual Property Organisation arbitrators.http://www.icann.org