Monday, June 20, 2011

Ready for (dot)news?

The body overseeing Internet Domain names just voted to open up the domain naming system to new top-level domain names to new terms "in any language or script."  Those names were originally limited to a few terms (.com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov), and have added a few at a time to the current 22 options, plus about 250 country-level domains.  While not a free-for-all (you still have to apply to ICANN to have the new domain label approved), it should make things interesting for a while.  For example, who will be allowed to register domain names within the newly approved top-level domain names?  I can imagine the fight over .apple, or the issue of whether the holder of registrations for a new '.news' top-level domain will get to decide which organizations qualify as "news" sites.
Opening up the system might have implications for continuing to promote global access. The "any language or script" is partially an outgrowth of efforts to move ICANN and the Internet from US/English language dominance.  It could easily benefit users of those languages and scripts, assuming the availability of appropriate keyboards. On the other hand, having site addresses in other languages or scripts may make accessing sites more difficult for 'outsiders', or at least will tend to push having multiple site names in multiple languages and scripts, and greater reliance on Web and point-and-click interfaces.

Source: "Global Internet body to unleash domain names," Broadcast Newsroom.

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