The group that oversees the Internets traffic system said on Sunday it plans to approve a host of new address suffixes to join the likes of ".com" and ".org" over the coming year, and is preparing for a major re-organisation.
Most Internet users will not be able to register website names in the new domains, as they will be limited to organisations in specific fields such as healthcare.
The precise number and names of the domains will be determined at an ICANN meeting in early 2003, the group said.
The new domains will follow the model of existing "restricted" domains such as .edu, which is open only to colleges and universities, and .museum, which is limited to museums, rather than being open to all like .com and .net.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, approved the plan at its annual meeting in Amsterdam on Sunday.
ICANN president Stuart Lynn said it decided on restricted domains because they can be put into circulation sooner and were not likely to be the target of cybersquatters, speculators who look to cash in by selling coveted domains to companies or organisations.
News source: TechCentral - ICANN approves new domains, reform