ICANN promises new web boom

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The recent decision to open up the domain naming system will create the largest boom on the internet since its creation, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)..

The group approved a measure on Thursday which will remove the restrictions on domain suffixes, allowing companies to register any word as a URL suffix. Where users were previously limited to 21 suffixes, such as .com and .net, sites will now be able to use such domains as .news or .bank.

ICANN expects the new rules to go into effect some time next year.

"The potential here is huge. It represents a whole new way for people to express themselves on the net," said ICANN president and chief executive Dr. Paul Twomey.

"It's a massive increase in the 'real estate' of the internet."

ICANN plans to allow non-Latin characters as well, opening the door for domains with Chinese and Arabic characters for the first time.

The company also provided further guidance on how the new domains will be distributed and managed. By the second quarter of 2009, ICANN plans to begin accepting applications for new domains.

In the case of a trademark or cyber-squatting spat, the company plans to allow trademark holders to file appeals. The appeals will then be reviewed by ICANN and a decision made.

A similar system will be put in place for dealing with attempts to register potentially offensive sites. Users will be able to file an objection which will then be passed on to an independent, international review board which will base a decision on international treaties.

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