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Top-Level Domains expansion- Cyber Real Estate

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The International Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has decided to bring the Internet’s history biggest ever change to allow creation of thousands of new unfamiliar domain names; though long demanded. Paul Twomey, president and chief executive of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), is predicting an explosion of new top level domains (TLDs), such as .car and .shop once the first applications are made in 2009. It is being anticipated that everyone will be bursting and will be following unusual names rather than familiar ones including .com(commerce), .org(organization), .edu(education), .info(information), .net, .gov(government), ca (Canada), .fr (France) .uk (United Kingdom), Pk(Pakistan) etc and as the last letters of their Web addresses, companies or organizations could add their company name to the end of their URL e.g Mobilink could be .mobilink

The number of Internet users is growing on daily basis; according to the World Internet Stats total world users are 1,407,724,920 out of which 37.6% are Asians, 27.1% are Europeans, 17.5% are North Americans, 9.8% are Latin Americans, 3.6% are Africans, 3.0% are Middle Eastern and 1.4% are Australian and Oceania. In last eight years the usage of internet has increased 1400% all over the world regardless of the population or other strengths. ICANN estimated last year that only 17 percent of the original 4 billion network addresses remained available. And it predicted that it would run out of stock available of new addresses within the next five years. Thus proposed addressing scheme should ease fears that ICANN will run out of addresses.

Dependence on internet for news and information, number of internet users is continuously growing. This is the result of enhanced usage of Internet that people are striving to have their private or personal webpages. With ascent of simple content management systems e.g. WordPress etc a new era of Blogging has started; where people can easily upload their personal information including experiences, photographs and videos. One step ahead there are social media networking site like Facebook, MySpace and so many have emerged providing people and opportunity to access required information within the time of clicking fingers; furthermore communication is redefining itself through these social media networking sites. With rising ratio of blogs and websites to find a domain name has become a hassle. Every other Webmaster vis-à-vis common man who wants to start new website for personal or professional reasons is perturbed by the situation. Due to this very reason domain names selling and buying has become an established business in cyber world by cyber squatters. Bidding on old registered domains can bring millions of dollars in pocket provided that domain has some worth.

What is in Domain name? A search Engine Optimizer recognizes the value of a search engine friendly domain names with searchable keywords. Thus Titans, Giants, small or medium entrepreneurs into web based businesses strive hard to attain domain names. Recent announcement is anticipated to bring major shake-ups in this regard because web regulators have voted to allow creation of thousands of new domain names with unusual suffixes ranging from .paris to .pepsi. previously world wide web addresses have been falling under the a set number of Top-Level Domain names. According to the statistics there are 240 country or territory domains, and some 21 generic ones from .com. .net, .org. gov, .edu that are familiar and have defined associations e.g. most of government websites fall under the .gov and .org is for more organization based websites. Thus people are familiar with the domains and their suffixes. These web addresses have easily been recognized due to small number of generic division. But with a huge and wide range of domains available it would be little difficult to recognize or brand specific websites.

A counter comment in this regard is, new domain names would be more community or audience oriented as to travel industry would preferably go for generic name travel similarly a car manufacturing company will opt to have name with suffixes .cars or car. Thus it would be easy for the companies or individual to reach their targeted audiences. Further more it has also been discussed that these domains names will give more liberty to the people to select an appropriate self satisfying domain name rather than .coms or .nets. This comment is more appropriate to believe in.

The reliance for information on internet has paved way for a strong search engine industry and Goggle, Microsoft and Yahoo. Inc are already are serving people in this regard. Branding with relevance will help in people to access their required content more easily. For small and medium companies it will be easier with tags like travel, cars etc even city names to be more marketable. However these search engines will have to slightly restructure their search mechanism. Paul Twomey, president of ICANN has said that technical issues would manageable, he said “We’ve taken advice from security experts who say there’s no technical reason for not having lots of generic domains.”

It is also anticipated that companies can register new domains names and use them abusively; in this regard ICANN has also adopted a motion designed to limit this abuse. Concerns about security, or abuse of the system by people like cyber-squatters, would be mitigated by factors including the cost of creating and registering new domains, and the technical know-how to run and maintain registries, with the application fees expected to start from $US100,000 ($A104,000). Paul Twomey, president and chief executive of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) said,” Our principle is we don’t decide what TLDs people apply for. People are free to apply for any domain name, but they will have to be able to show they have a business background and the technical ability to run a registry” This check will help in dealing with cyber squatters the fees will no doubt be prohibitive, in the hundreds of thousands of US dollars, thus these new names, won’t come cheap. As a result, it’s unlikely that individuals will be able to take advantage of the new naming conventions to create more personalized Web sites. Even trademarks will not be automatically reserved. But there will be an objection-based mechanism for trademark owners where their arguments for protection will be considered.

President ICANN has revealed that first time Non English Languages will also figure into the new generation of domain names, with TLDs in Cyrillic or containing Roman alphabet characters. Furthermore all the languages of the world can be domain names; interestingly ICANN is in pilot project of testing Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.

Pakistan falls at 10th number in list of top ten Asian countries who use internet, India is on third number, China on first number and Japan on second number. India has gigantically improves its Information technology Industry and its Internet Users are increasing though Pakistan is far behind but still hopes are not diminishing. This is right time for Pakistan to take quick strides to get into the global pace of progress. Next rising industry is Web base, unfortunately from Pakistan a very small number is engaged in this business. But with emergence of new world wide web era we Pakistanis expect our government and specially Information technology Industry to come forward to help Pakistanis grow in this very field. With new educational institutions where short course for modern SEO and web base business could be taught would be helpful as to prepare a lot of need base technological experts.

Whatever the pros and cons of this proposal that will be implemented finally in second quarter of 2009 after the approval of the ICANN Board, it is expected to bring more and more opportunities and choices for internet users and it will have impact on the Asian, Eastern Europe, African, Russian and Middle Eastern Countries.

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