On January 12, there is set to be a huge expansion in the taxonomy of web addresses. No longer will we bound to the .com and .net and .org and the suckier and lesser used .tv and .biz. ICANN, the non-profit organization that regulates domain names (and doubles as a self-affirmation) will allow dot anything else. But members of congress are trying to block that from happening. Members of both parties in the House Energy and Commerce Committee want businesses to have more time to plan how they’re going to handle website nomenclature management. In short, whether those businesses will need to buy up every site that has their brand on it. So Al’s Burgers might need AlsBurgers.com, AlsBurgers.food, Alsburgers.burgers, and so on.
"Although we believe expanding [generic top-level domains] is a worthy goal that may lead to increased competition on the Internet, we are very concerned that there is significant uncertainty in this process for businesses, non-profit organizations, and consumers," the lawmakers wrote. "To that end, we urge you to delay the planned January 12, 2012, date for the acceptance of applications for new gTLDs."
The lawmakers said "a short delay will allow interested parties to work with ICANN and offer changes to alleviate many of them, specifically concerns over law enforcement, cost and transparency that were discussed in recent Congressional hearings.”
We saw something like this happen with the .xxx domain but given that these new names could be infinite, there would be a lot more work for a company to do if it really wanted to nail down its branding absolutely everywhere.