Dot com will now have competition from dot baby

All in a name

Move over .com — it might have to compete with suffixes such as .music, .miami and .insurance after the body in charge of website domain names unveils some 2,000 applications for new ones on Wednesday.

The US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was to reveal details of 1,930 requests for new web address endings at a press conference in London.

The California-based body says the huge expansion of the Internet, with two billion users around the world, half of them in Asia, means the new names are essential. There are currently just 22 generic Top-Level Domains, or gTLDs, in use, including .com.

Ahead of the release of the list, ICANN said nearly half of the applications came from US-based organisations.

A total of 911 organisations from North America paid the $185,000 (150,000 euro) fee to lodge an application, along with 675 from Europe and 303 from the Asia-Pacific region. Just 17 applications for new suffixes were received from African applicants, while 24 requests came from Latin America and the Caribbean.

ICANN said 66 of the proposals were linked to geographical locations — such as .nyc, .miami and .paris — while others relate to industries, such as .insurance.

The body also revealed that 116 of the claims are for what it termed “internationalised domain names” - addresses that are not in the Latin alphabet. “That means that if you’re a person living in China or in somewhere in India then you might have the opportunity to use the Internet purely in your native script,” ICANN’s president and chief executive, Rod Beckstrom, told the BBC.

“It’s going to make the Internet more approachable for people.” ICANN began taking applications in January, and expects the first new address to go live between April and June 2013. On top of the registration fees, maintaining a suffix will cost $25,000 annually. ICANN has raised $352 million in application fees.

ICM Registry, which runs the freshly established gTLD .xxx, hopes to add other online red-light districts ending in .sex, .porn or .adult.

Google has applied for .YouTube, for its video-sharing website.

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