Melbourne IT cagey as domain expands further

Domain name registrar Melbourne IT plans to expand its portfolio of domain name offerings early next year, but is reluctant to specify the domain name endings it will be seeking the rights for.

According to a company spokesperson, the registrar will place a submission with the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), seeking to add several "internationally relevant" domain name endings to its existing catalogue of .au domains.

Melbourne IT currently claims a market share of 80 per cent of all domain names ending in .au.

Earlier this week, ICANN voted in favour of adding new domain name endings to co-exist with the existing .com, .org and .net endings.

The Melbourne IT spokesperson would not reveal which domain endings the registrar hoped to secure the rights to, but new endings proposed by ICANN include .web, .per, .nom and .tel.

"We're holding our cards close to our chest," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said domain names currently did not carry any generic evidence of a website's origin. Suffixes such as .per and .nom would enable web surfers to more easily distinguish a person's casual web page from the more corporate-centric dominion of the .com.au suffix.

Also, industry-specific "global top-level domains" (gTLDs), such as .tel or .web, would enable a company's industry to be recognisable overseas, the spokesperson said.

ICANN will charge bidders $US50,000 for applications -- a fee which has raised concerns among several domain registration organisations. However, Melbourne IT has said it will enter into a consortium with other (undisclosed) internet registrars to foot the bill.

"We will be happy to pay it," the spokesperson said.

ICANN expects licences for the new gTLDs will be awarded by mid-November, with contracts in place by the end of the year.

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