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International domain-name regulator approves major expansion of suffixes

Companies can abandon traditional dot-com addresses for custom names

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a global non-profit that regulates domain names, announced today that it will allow applicants to register any name they want as a domain suffix. ICANN’s CEO, Rod Beckstrom, says the change will allow for limitless creativity and innovation on the Internet.

Currently, 22 domain suffixes—including .com and .org—exist. ICANN’s changes will allow companies to register any word (up to 63 characters long) in any language for a $185,000 application fee and a $25,000 annual operation charge. Applications open Jan. 12, 2012, and close April 12, 2012, and the first wave of new domains will be activated by November 2012.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the majority of applicants are companies that want to secure their brand identity. ICANN will reject applications that appear to be from cyber-squatters looking to cash in on trademarks they don’t own.

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