ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ) has been tasked with the goal of opening up a set of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) so that companies, individuals, and organizations have more flexibility in creating Web sties and in publicizing their products and services. We are all familiar with long established TLDs such as .COM, .EDU, .GOV, .MIL, .NET, and .ORG. These six generic TLDs were established early on in the development of the Internet, as were the many two letter abbreviations given for countries such as .UK for England, .CA for Canada, .RU for Russia, .TV for Tuvalu, and so forth.
Several new generic TLDs are either close to being established, or have already been approved. A listing of them may be found at: http://www.icann.org/tlds/. The .BIZ, for business; .AERO, for the aerospace industry; .COOP, for cooperatives, .MUSEUM, for museums; and .PRO, for professionals are all recently established TLDs for specific groups. There are also some generic TLDs meant for individuals, including: .INFO and .NAMES that have appeared. Internet organizations can now by convention register in the .INT TLD.
ICANN also seeks sponsors for new TLDs, organizations that can organize and register a specific class of Web site creation. Instructions on how to get this process started are contained at: http://www.icann.org/tlds/.
Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.