Some time in the near future, as the cyber-clocks strike midnight,

all available dot-ca domain names are going to be accessible to anyone poised with their finger over the Enter key.

It will be the wild west all over again, as legitimates and cyber squatters get ready to take possession of any remaining dot-ca names.

Today, anyone with a couple of bucks and a bit of imagination can register pretty much any dot-com name they want, which means most of the good and valuable ones are gone. But in the world of dot-ca the rules have been, well, a little more Canadian.

Not just anybody can register the dot-ca moniker. Simply put, your company has to be one of the following: federally incorporated, have offices in multiple provinces or own a trademark.

According to Andrew Bjerring, president and CEO of CANARIE Inc., a private, not-for-profit Internet development organization that is helping implement the restructuring of the dot-ca universe, by the mid 1990s there was growing demand for a more streamlined, automated and liberal approach to the registration of dot-ca domain names. Add to this the phenomenal growth of the Internet and it became apparent the liberalizing process was a much bigger task than could be handled by a volunteer committee.