Mid-2013 expansion for Internet names targeted
NEW YORK (AP) - Hundreds of Internet address suffixes to rival ".com" should be available for people and businesses to use by the end of the year, the head of an Internet oversight agency said on Monday.
The initial ones, expected in mid-2013, will likely be in Chinese and other languages besides English, said Mr Fadi Chehade, chief executive of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).
That will be followed within weeks by English suffixes that do not have competing bidders. Although the specific names won't be announced until late April, they will come from a pool of single-bidder proposals - among them, ".aetna," ''.cadillac" and other brand names sought by companies, regional monikers such as ".vegas" and ".quebec" and generic suffixes such as ".like" and ".vacation". Many proposed suffixes, such as ".app", ''.music" and ".tech", will likely take longer, however, because multiple groups have submitted bids to run them and must work out disputes.
Icann is overseeing the largest expansion of the Internet address system since its creation in the 1980s. Last year, nearly 2,000 businesses and groups submitted bids for about 1,400 different names. Proponents of the new suffixes are hoping the expansion will lead to online neighbourhoods of businesses and groups around specific geographic areas or industries. And with easy-to-remember ".com" names long taken, they hope to offer Internet newcomers more choices.