The Internet's regulating organization has just approved a proposal to create an unlimited number of customized top-level domains. That means URLs will no longer be restricted to .com, .net, or .us-style suffixes; instead, anyone can apply to have any letter combination become a reality.
Snagging a new name won't be a simple procedure, however: ICANN will first require proof of a "business plan and technical capacity," meaning you have to have thousands of dollars of server and router-type equipment to get through. A thorough review process will then make sure the suffix is not offensive and does not infringe on anyone's intellectual property. The names are also expected to cost a minimum of $100,000 and as much as half a million, so the rush may not be as widespread as some have feared.
The change will go into effect next year, with registration opening in April and the first new names going live toward the end of the year. Once approved, nearly anything could be possible -- .microsoft, .mcdonalds, .tech -- you name it.
The ruling comes right as current domain registration is hitting a new landmark. Go Daddy has just reached an Internet growth record, becoming the first registrar with 30 million domain names under its belt.
The registration of RulesOfSaving.com pushed the company over the line today. It's a milestone in a strong year for domain registrations: Go Daddy alone says it's now registering, renewing, or transferring about one domain name per second, with a whopping 72 percent predicted increase in sales this year compared to last. The trend, its execs say, represents positive news for the entire web-based business industry.
"These numbers really demonstrate how the Internet is alive and well, even in these rough financial times," Bob Parsons, Go Daddy CEO and founder, commented.
One can only assume the introduction of custom top-level domains will lead to even more growth in 2009 -- even if the added activity is limited to big business.