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Hundreds of new web domain suffixes incoming this year

The first batch will be available around April, with more following towards the end of the year.

Forget .com -- you'll soon have hundreds of new Internet address suffixes to choose from if you want to start a website. That's because in just a few months, we'll see the largest expansion of Internet addresses since the system was created in the 1980s, according to the head of the organisation overseeing the expansion.

These will include those from brand names (.cadillac), regional monikers (.vegas, or .scunthorpe maybe) and more generic ones (.like), the Associated Press reports. Thinking caps on if you want to come up with your own.

The first batch will be active around the middle of the year, and will most likely be in Chinese and other languages aside from English, according to ICANN (the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) CEO Fadi Chehade. Then weeks later we'll see those from single bidders, such as the ones listed above.

We'll have to wait longer for some, like .app, .music and .tech, because many groups are bound to be bidding for them. And these things tend to take a while. If no compromise is found between competing parties, ICANN will auction off names to the highest bidders.

Last year, almost 2,000 businesses and groups put in bids for some 1,400 suffixes. If you're worried about someone claiming your business' name, you can protect it thanks to a programme known as the Trademark Clearinghouse, run by IBM and Deloitte, which starts on 26 March. You'll need to own the trademark in order to claim the name.

Registration will open to us regular Joes sometime after the Trademark Clearinghouse has kicked in.

Will you be registering your own suffix? What would you choose? And should companies be worried about pranksters getting in there and hijacking their names, then trying to flog them back for an extortionate price? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.