New trio of internet naming options

13 Nov 2002

Three new introductions to the busy world of internet domain names may be on the cards next year as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body that oversees the internet’s addressing system, has called for proposals to create new top-level suffixes.

Recommending the creation of three sponsored top-level domains (TLDs), ICANN president Stuart Lynn said that sponsored domains are easier to implement than generic ones, while filling “demonstrable community needs”.

Sponsored domains are created for specific community groups, unlike generic domains such as .com, .net and .org. Existing sponsored domains include suffixes such as .museum, which could be used by any museum that wished to apply for a domain name with that extension.

Although the internet overseer is still evaluating the seven TLDs that it approved in 2000, including .biz and .info, three new additions could debut early next year. The ICANN board could vote on the new addresses as early as December at the group’s annual meeting.

Over the past few years, ICANN has come under fire for being slow to approve new TLDs, as a consequence of its monopoly over the TLD approval process. In response, the non-profit group says it has a responsibility to ensure long-term internet stability and to be able to guarantee new suffixes will work properly for internet users worldwide. Indications by Lynn that approval of the three new addresses could be streamlined and implemented, despite the unfinished evaluation of the previous seven domains, may indicate that the group is addressing claims that it is ineffective.

By Linda Gillett