ICANN Approves Big Changes To Internet Addressing System
Presently, users have a limited range of 21 top level domains to choose from — names that we’ve all come to know well like .com, .org, .info; in addition to the country-specific TLDs (.uk, .tn, .ae, …etc).
The approved proposal allows applicants for new names to self-select their domain name so that choices are most appropriate for their customers or potentially the most marketable. It is expected that applicants will apply for targeted community strings such as (the existing) .travel for the travel industry and .cat for the Catalan community (as well as generic strings like .brandname or .yournamehere). There are already interested consortiums wanting to establish city-based top level domains, like .nyc (for New York City), .berlin and .paris.
The expanding system is also being planned to support extensions in the languages of the world, enabling web addresses to be typed in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts. The present system only supports 37 Roman characters.
Upon approval of the implementation plan, it is planned that applications for new names will be available in the second quarter of 2009.
# Source: ICANN