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By 20 June 2011 | Categories: news

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), recently voted to introduce a number of new web suffixes to the online realm, despite fears that it may cause some confusion.

According to Reuters, the new vote enables private companies to replace their generic “.com” web suffixes with something pertaining more to themselves. So instead of companies being forced to use a handful of generic top level domains (gTLDs), such as .com, .net and .org, we can instead be seeing a “.apple” or “.coke” one of these days.

“This is the biggest change to domain names since the creation of '.com' 26 years ago,” said Theo Hnarakis, CEO of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, a California-based company which provides online branding services. The change is likely to effect major industry players the most though, with Hnarakis naming them as, “big brands with a clear marketing and customer education strategy to exploit the name for the competitive advantage.”

Industry observers claims that companies such as Apple, Toyota and BMW for example could be in the process of registering custom domain names. It's hoped that the new system will allow brands to gain more control over their online presence.

Companies or individuals can apply for one of the new custom domain suffixes, with an application costing some $185 000. ICANN will however be enforcing the rules more strictly than on other parts of the web, requiring organisations to show a legitimate claim to the their name, and making sure the sites don't fall into disuse.

In addition to brands, other bodies such as cities and communities are also expected to apply for special suffixes.

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