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ICANN opens its doors for new top level domains

Top level domain rules lose the plot
Thu Jan 12 2012, 12:54

THE INTERNET MANAGEMENT OUTFIT ICANN has opened up its doors to sell private top level domains that apparently not many people really want.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is flirting with controversy by allowing generic top level domains that could open the internet and web users up to glorious domains like .coke, .starbucks, or .pepsi, and has earned criticism for this decision.

"A rapid, exponential expansion of gTLDs has the potential to magnify both the abuse of the domain name system and the corresponding challenges we encounter in tracking down Internet fraudsters," warned the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in December.

ICANN took this on board and after considering this risk decided that it was quite happy with its ability to detect and counter abuses.

"We carefully reviewed every critical aspect. Each executive was called on to indicate whether his or her group is fully prepared to fulfill their role in supporting the program. While we noted the ongoing presence of risks that were identified and highlighted to the Board and community in June, and the mitigation steps that have been taken, each executive indicated approval to proceed," said ICANN CEO, Rod Beckstrom.

"As a result, Chief Operating Officer Akram Atallah and Michael Salazar gave me the green light to move forward."

The application window for generic top level domains opens up now and runs until 12 April this year. The fee to apply is $185,000, which might put off malicious applicants. There is a seed fund for disadvantaged applicants, and that will let a "limited number of qualifying applicants" pay merely $47,000.

As well as opening up applications for a large range of generic domains, ICANN is also taking applications for generic top level domains in non-Latin languages, such as Cyrillic, Chinese and Arabic. µ


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