May 15, 2000 1:15 PM PDT

Media firms log on to ".TV" domain

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Several media firms are buying new, more descriptive suffixes to tack on to the end of their Web addresses--something other than the generic ".com."

Companies such as the giant entertainment firm Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Los Angeles-based television station NBC4, and gaming operation Sega of America announced today that they have purchased ".TV" domains from dotTV.

Pasadena, Calif.-based dotTV is an Idealab-created start-up. The company, which began quietly selling the ".TV" domain names three weeks ago, has registered names for MGM such as MGM.TV, UnitedArtists.TV and JamesBond.TV. MGM has not yet announced what kind of sites they plan for those domain names.

With the explosive growth of the Internet, domain names are becoming scarce and some dot-coms have asked ICANN, the nonprofit organization responsible for maintaining infrastructure for Internet addresses, to adopt more domain name suffixes.

Others have maintained that creating more names will lead to cyber-squatting, which is the practice of registering names, especially trademarks, and then selling them to the highest bidder.

In April, an ICANN committee recommended that a policy governing the creation of such categories, called "generic top-level domain names," be created. The committee said it would make it easier to categorize Web sites and make it easier to find them.

Anticipating a rush on new domain names, Idealab agreed to pay the government of Tuvalu, a small Pacific island country, $50 million over 10 years for the rights to the ".TV" domain name. Tuvalu also received a minority interest in dotTV and a citizen has been placed on the company's board of directors, said Rob Kostich, dotTV's director of marketing.

Tuvalu said it intends to use the windfall to pay for new hospitals, schools and other civic improvements for its 10,000 people.

A ".TV" domain can cost anywhere from $1,000 a year for a creative name, such as JamesBond.TV, and more standard titles, such as News.TV or Commercial.TV, will be auctioned off, the company said.


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