World of Web Names Now Wide Open

Internet regulators voted to loosen restrictions on internet names, a move that could allow thousands of variations of suffixes beyond the basic .com or .ca. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) overwhelmingly approved the new guidelines on Thursday in Paris after weeklong meetings. The guidelines represent one of the biggest changes to the internet in its 25-year history.

New names won't begin appearing for several months and ICANN won't be deciding on specific ones. The organization must decide how much the new domain names will cost. The names are expected to cost over $100,000 apiece to help ICANN cover up to $20 million in costs. The new guidelines could allow for domain names that have been requested, and denied by ICANN, for years, such as .xxx for adult websites and .post for postal service websites. Companies with well-known names like eBay, Apple or Google could also end up requesting domain names if the new rules are approved, snatching up names like .ebay, .mac and .goog.

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