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Group posts plan to add domains beyond ".com," ".org"

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers announces its initial plan for creating new domains.

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, has posted an outline of its plan to add domains beyond the commonplace ".com," ".net" and ".org" suffixes.

The proposal, posted yesterday on ICANN's Web site, acts as a guideline in establishing new domains. The document outlines ways the policy can be shaped, asking questions such as what the names should reflect. As previously reported, several of the current domain-name registrars support the expansion and have suggested the creation of new domains such as ".shop" and ".banc."

The proposal comes on the eve of ICANN's July 16 board meeting in Yokohama, Japan, where the Net naming group will hammer out policies and timelines for creating these new suffixes.

ICANN is a nonprofit organization that manages the infrastructure for Internet addresses. It is also responsible for establishing policies to create and govern these address categories, called "generic top-level domains."

Adding new suffixes essentially expands the scope of the Internet. While most businesses can buy domain names under ".com," the addition of other commercial domains could open more possibilities for people to purchase Web addresses.

ICANN's board meeting in Yokohama will also address ways to protect intellectual property when establishing these new top-level domains. The organization's proposal asks for public comment and lists 74 questions to consider in outlining the new policy.

ICANN plans to call for name proposals in August. Applicants will have to submit them by Oct. 1, and the decision on the new names will be made in November.

Currently, Web domain addresses are being sold by a number of registrars, the largest being Network Solutions, which backs ICANN's expansion efforts, as do other registrars including Register.com.