March 19, 2004 3:42 PM PST

ICANN surveys proposed Net domains

The Internet's real estate may soon be expanding, with the proposed addition of up to nine new top-level domains, including .jobs, .xxx, .travel and .mail.

Ten organizations have submitted detailed proposals to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the rights to sell the potentially lucrative domain-name suffixes. ICANN, which made the list public on Friday afternoon, has not approved any new top-level domains since adding .biz, .info, and .aero and four others in 2000.

The other proposed suffixes include .cat, .post, .asia, .mobi, and .tel. Two groups, New York-based Pulver.com and the U.K's Telname Limited London, are vying for .tel, which places ICANN in the uncomfortable position of judging which company is better qualified to run it.

It is unclear how long it will take for ICANN to consider the new top-level domains, and how many will be approved. In a recent interview with CNET News.com, ICANN Chairman Vint Cerf said he has no upper limit in mind.

"There is no specific number that has been set for acceptance," Cerf said. "My understanding is that we have not put any limits on the number of applications, and that as applications are qualified, that they would presumably be approved."

ICANN plans a public comment period for the proposals over the month of April, followed by submission to an independent evaluation panel in May. The criteria for judging the proposals require that there be broad support for a top-level domain, that it not negatively affect the domain name system (DNS), and that it be financially viable. Each applicant paid $45,000 to ICANN, and proposals were due by March 16.

Stuart Lawley, the president of Toronto-based ICM Registry, said he hopes ICANN will approve his request for .xxx so "responsible adult entertainment businesses can go about their business in a less restricted way."

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.PW is also coming
ICANN is not the only group approving new top level domains. PW is launching this spring. PW is a country code domain that has never been activated. PW is being positioned as "Personal Web" and will support online communities for consumers. More info is available at www.pwregistry.pw.
Posted by bostonet (2 comments )
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