New top-level domains could arrive by mid-2008, ICANN says

New GTLDs may be on the way.

New top-level domains are once again on the horizon.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said on Thursday that it would begin accepting applications for new suffixes early next year.

The problem, though, is that new top-level domains aren't necessarily going to be that useful or interesting.

The venerable .com suffix still remains the Internet's prime real estate, and ones like .info and .biz seem to have become more used by spammers than legitimate businesses. ICANN's final rejection of .xxx this year, even there was no technical or legal reason not to approve it, has severely politicized the process. Instead of using .museum, the world's most famous ones go by louvre.fr, museumoflondon.org.uk, and metmuseum.org. And so on.

Still, ICANN is going ahead. "If the new approval process comes on-line as planned, the global Internet could see new top-level domains added and available between June and August 2008," ICANN president Paul Twomey said in a statement.

Expect more details at ICANN's meeting in June in Puerto Rico.

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About the author

Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.

 

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