The internet is set for its biggest shake up in decades if plans to open up the address system are passed by the internets regulators. If plans are passed then the rules on top level domain names such as .com and .co.uk could be relaxed, allowing companies to turn their brands into domain names, whilst at the same time individuals could create their own space on the internet.
A relaxation of the rules could also result in the creation of the .xxx domain to serve adult content, a topic that has been widely discussed for a number of years.
Currently TLDs are restricted to countries such as .uk and institutions such as .net or .org. Because of the current restrictions small countries have often hired their TLD domains out to relevant industries. For example Tuvalu has leased .tv domains to many television firms. The country of Tokelau significantly increased its profile by offering free domain names in return for a served advert, a move which has transformed the communications infrastructure of the island.
Internet regulator ICANN has been has been working towards opening up internet address for years, and if successful new domain name could be internationalised.
ICANN spokesman said of the plans “It’s a massive increase in the geography of the real estate of the internet.”
Hundreds of new domain names could become available by the end of 2008, with thousands more likely to follow.