ICANN surveys proposed Net domains

The adult-flavored .xxx is among the nine potentially lucrative domain-name suffixes being considered for acceptance by the Internet's governing body.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
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.
Declan McCullagh
2 min read
The Internet's real estate may soon be expanding, with the proposed addition of up to nine new top-level domains, including .jobs, .xxx, .travel and .mail.

Ten organizations have submitted detailed proposals to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the rights to sell the potentially lucrative domain-name suffixes. ICANN, which made the list public on Friday afternoon, has not approved any new top-level domains since adding .biz, .info, and .aero and four others in 2000.

The other proposed suffixes include .cat, .post, .asia, .mobi, and .tel. Two groups, New York-based Pulver.com and the U.K's Telname Limited London, are vying for .tel, which places ICANN in the uncomfortable position of judging which company is better qualified to run it.

It is unclear how long it will take for ICANN to consider the new top-level domains, and how many will be approved. In a recent interview with CNET News.com, ICANN Chairman Vint Cerf said he has no upper limit in mind.

"There is no specific number that has been set for acceptance," Cerf said. "My understanding is that we have not put any limits on the number of applications, and that as applications are qualified, that they would presumably be approved."

ICANN plans a public comment period for the proposals over the month of April, followed by submission to an independent evaluation panel in May. The criteria for judging the proposals require that there be broad support for a top-level domain, that it not negatively affect the domain name system (DNS), and that it be financially viable. Each applicant paid $45,000 to ICANN, and proposals were due by March 16.

Stuart Lawley, the president of Toronto-based ICM Registry, said he hopes ICANN will approve his request for .xxx so "responsible adult entertainment businesses can go about their business in a less restricted way."