ICANN votes for major domain name overhaul

New web suffixes coming in 2012

More domain name possibilities  more spam

Internet domain names are set for a shake-up, as ICANN has voted to allow new suffixes to append web addresses from 2012.

.com, .org and .net have served the internet well but the new plans will allow for international domains written in different scripts, as well as serving to compartmentalise the web with subject specific suffixes.

The new domains should hit the web in late 2012, when we could see history sites popping up with a .hist address, for example, or web addresses written in Arabic, Japanese, Russian or other alphabets.

It's .complicated

They won't come cheap though; new domain name applications will set you back $185,000 (£114,600) and however long it takes you to trawl through the 360 page application form.

Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN's board of directors, said: "Today's decision will usher in a new internet age."

He concludes with an interesting turn of phrase that echoes Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg's comments on net neutrality and its importance for fostering innovation online.

"We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration. Unless there is a good reason to restrain it, innovation should be allowed to run free."

ICANN's timely decision comes just days after World IPv6 Day when major web companies tested the new protocol ahead of the official transition which seeks to free up billions of new web address possibilities.

Via the Guardian