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Scott Jagow Jul 20, 2009

The agency in charge of Internet domain names, ICANN, wants to start selling top-level domains to anyone who wants them. So, instead of just .com, .net or .gov, there could be .pepsi or .ebay or .hamburgers. I seriously doubt there will be a .jagow because just to apply for these domains, ICANN is asking $185,000.

Apparently, the appeal of a top-level domain is simplicity – allowing people to navigate a bit faster – and probably marketing. From the New York Times:

All in, it will cost $500,000 to $1 million to set up shop on the Internet after the dot. That means that not only will individuals be shut out of owning top-level domains, but small and mid-sized businesses could also find the price of entry too high.

So here’s where the two-tier Internet is going to hit home with users. Companies that own top-level domains may well stand out from those that don’t.

I’m sure many big companies will love this, but there’s some opposition already, too. From Internetnews.com:

A lawyer speaking for several U.S. major league sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) asked ICANN to consider the burden of new domains on the major league sports clubs and also the proportionally heavier burden of these domains on those colleges that may have several teams, each with valuable logos and properties…

A representative of Turner Broadcasting warned that past abuse, such as fake CNN stories, would only be made easier by the proliferation of TLDs. “Turner Broadcasting does not favor new TLDs,” he said.

In the end, I’m not sure this change will make that much of a difference. Maybe I’m missing something. Then again, I’m sure many people are growing impatient with having to type .com after every address. It’s just so time-consuming. I mean, isn’t it time to reduce the max characters on Twitter by now?

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