The world internet oversight organisation ICANN has voted to allow a massive increase in the number of top-level domain names. Among the TLDs appearing at present is .bike.
Currently the internet has just 22 top level domains, including the most popular .com suffix. The new rules will allow for virtually any top-level domain and is expected to herald an explosion in brand-based domains.
"ICANN has opened the Internet’s addressing system to the limitless possibilities of the human imagination. No one can predict where this historic decision will take us," said ICANN boss Rod Beckstrom.
Applications for the new TLDs will begin early next year. The cost of the domains will be generally out of the reach of individuals and the application procedure much more involved.
The Corporation will combat so-called Cyber squatters, the scourge of firms that register thousands of domains forcing legitimate users to pay over-the-odds fees to take ownership of the domains, by pricing the TLDs at $185,000 and a $25,000 annual fee to maintain them.
"This is the biggest change to domain names since the creation of dot com 26 years ago," said IT consultancy Melbourne IT boss Theo Hnarakis.
Hnarakis said that out of 150 organisations that had expressed interest in the new TLDs, the vast majority (92 per cent) preferred the idea of a brand based domain in line with Canon’s standard preference for .canon.
Just 11 per cent indicated they’d be interested in going after a generic TLD such as .bank and .hotel, Hnarakis said. Unsurprisingly, consumer-focused brands were more interested in the new domains.