The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) decision to expand gTLD (generic top-level domain) names on the internet to include almost any name (even .anything), is foxing both users and registers. It has also raised fears of online trademark violations and cybersquatting.
ICANN is scheduled to start the first phase of receiving applications for the domain names from mid-January 2012 and the process would continue till mid-April.
Domain names are divided into two segments - gTLDs and country code top level domains (ccTLDs).
The gTLD segment accounts for domain names like .com, .net, .org, and .info, while ccTLDs are country specific like .in (India), .de (Germany) and .uk (UK).
ICANN's decision to expand domain names means domains like .shop, .burgers, .lipstick, .mumbai, and .delhi may be a reality soon.
Users are already interested in owning the .mumbai domain name. "We did come across such a request from an individual. But individuals cannot apply for geo-specific domain names. Hence, the request was rejected," said Govind, senior director, Department of Information Technology (DIT) and chief executive, National Internet Exchange of India (Nixi).
To frame a strategy to resolve any confusion over the issue, DIT, along with the Centre for Development of Advance Computing (CDAC), Nixi, ICANN and VeriSign, would meet on Wednesday.
IT secretaries of all states would attend the meeting, which would also include mayors of major cities, Union government officials, key industry leaders and associations, registrars and linguists.
"The main agenda of the meet is to create awareness among the industry and users. This would change the way people find information on the web and also how business is done on the internet.
From an India perspective, we plan to create awareness about this change and inform people of what is happening. We would also write to various IT secretaries and municipal corporations," said Govind.
Domain names are host names that identify internet protocol (IP) resources such as websites. Currently, there are 22 top domain names, including .com, .net and .org.
For India, which has just two million domain names, many feel this could be a big opportunity. The ratio of domain names registered to the number of internet users in India currently stands at 1:45, while it is 1:5