Internet domain name expansion comes under fire

A plan to expand the number of Internet domain names came under fire in the US Congress on Thursday, a day after the head of the Federal Trade Commission said it could potentially be a “disaster.” The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the global body which manages the Domain Name System that forms the technical backbone of the Web, will begin taking applications in January for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), the suffixes such as .com, .net or .org. ICANN’s plan would allow for the creation of hundreds of new gTLDs, letting companies such as Apple, Toyota and BMW, for example, apply for domain names ending in .apple, .toyota or .bmw. Esther Dyson, a former ICANN chairman, told a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee the expansion of gTLDs was unnecessary and would lead to a “profusion of domain names” that would only serve to confuse Internet users. Daniel Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, said ICANN’s plan is “fundamentally flawed.” “Companies are going to have to buy their name back to protect themselves,” Jaffe said. “Even big companies will be facing very large expenses.” Angela Williams, general counsel for the YMCA, said the new gTLD program will impose excessive costs on non-profit organizations like her youth group. ICANN plans to charge a USD 185,000 application fee for a new gTLD. ICANN, a California-based non-profit corporation, approved the expansion of gTLDs in June. While applications for new domain names are being accepted in January the first new gTLDs are not expected until next year

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