The internet naming board Icann has decided to allow the number of internet “domains” to expand enormously in one of the biggest changes ever to the internet’s method of naming sites.
New website suffixes should start appearing late in 2012 and could be categorised by subjects including industry, geography and ethnicity and include Arabic, Chinese and other scripts.
The move is the biggest change to the internet’s domain naming system since “.com” was introduced 26 years ago, which opened out the formerly academic and military system to commercial use.
Icann will receive applications for new domain names for 90 days from 12 January 2012. The fee is $185,000, and the form for application is 360 pages long. It will also begin an awareness campaign pointing out that it has introduced the new scheme.