Hot on the heels of their controversial approval of .xxx top-level domains back in March, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has now voted to allow the creation of new generic website domain suffixes so that companies and organizations can use their own dot-anything web address.
The move could dramatically increase the number of TLDs from the current 22 (.com, .org, .net and so on), but creating a new one won't be cheap or easy it seems.
Under the new rules, online stores could apply for a .shop domain or companies like Coca-Cola could secure the domain .coke and assign web addresses such as drink.coke. The ICANN would make the final decision on any new top-level domain, of course, requiring that those applying are established organizations with the necessary capabilities to keep a domain running. There's also a $185,000 payment, plus $25,000 annual fees.
The group says the idea is to have more recognizable addresses that would allow web users to find what they're looking for more quickly, though I can see how this could add some of confusion if a lot of companies get onboard with it.
In the end, those that do sign up for their customized domain will likely keep their .com as well and just redirect visitors to whatever they want to use as their main site address. Some might use it for special promotions or protecting their brand, but if past history serves any indication this new system won't garner a lot of interest. After all, most users use search engines to reach a website. Adding hundreds of top-level domains won't make navigating the web any easier.