The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — the governing body for all things online — has approved sweeping changes to the domain-name rules that will allow companies to purchase new domain names ending in almost whatever suffix they choose. The decision means that we could be visiting sites that end with .pepsi or .ebay as early as next year. The exact price to register these new names isn’t yet known, but some experts predict it could cost more than $100,000 for a new domain name. Needless to say, the blogosphere went .bonkers.
“I am not in the slightest surprised to hear that that most pointless of organizations, ICANN, has decided to allow approximately a zillion new TLDs (top-level domain names),” wrote Ben Laurie, Links.org blogger and founding director of The Apache Software Foundation. “In their usual egotistical style, they bill this piece of stupidity as…the Biggest Expansion to Internet in Forty Years Approved for Implementation. The only thing this expands is the wallets of registrars and, presumably, ICANN’s coffers. The Internet itself is not expanded one iota by this dumb move.”
Shakesville blogger Jeff Fecke agreed: “Oh, sure, it will be loads of fun when Disney creates the .disney TLD, and I’m sure we’re all waiting with bated breath for the debut of .wingnut — so we can avoid it. But at some point, isn’t this going to get, well, a bit silly? It sure will once .silly goes online.”
On the other side of the fence, Bitemarks blogger Matt McLernon supported ICANN’s move. “It’s an overall good move for everyone,” he wrote. “A company can take the timeless route and have the option to use .com as an implicit part of its homepage or microsite, but now also having the chance to really flex creative ability in the overall domain name. Think, http://alphabet.soup as an example.”
And according to tech news blogger K InTheHouse at ShanKri-La, the biggest beneficiary of this situation could actually be a certain Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine. “If I were Google, I would be very happy this morning as all this is good news for a search engine,” he wrote. “If you were confused or unable to find the business names anymore by your .coms or .nets or .biz options for a name, you would naturally turn to a search engine. The results shown by Google are going to be even more important down the line when there are a zillion more sites with crazy names attached to them with no apparent structure.”
He added: “Even now, how many times have you caught yourself going straight to Google before you get to a website? This is just with the few common TLDs like .com, .net and the occasional hyphens in the name. Imagine with hundred more options for domain names and my head starts to spin already.”