Massive shakeup for net names close

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Icann are set to vote on a motion that would allow generic top name domains - currently limited to things like .org, .com or .co.uk - to be opened up to a mass of alternatives.

Icann, which stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is a not-for-profit organisation that looks after the internet's naming conventions.

Currently the top name domains, the letters that denote the country of origin or type of website (such as .com, .net, .org, co.uk, .eu, etc) are closely controlled, with countries such as Tuvala selling their .tv assigned addresses for huge sums to businesses such as UK broadcaster Five.

However, Icann will soon be voting on whether it will open up these top level domains to allow thousands of alternatives, with companies able to use their names as top level domains (ie .ebay, or .msn), cities like Berlin and New York to have .berlin or .ny and the likes of .bank, .tech etc to become available.

"We're talking about introducing potentially thousands more names," Paul Levins, executive officer of Icann, told the International Herald Tribune.

"The addressing system hasn't fundamentally changed since its invention. These changes have the potential to have a huge impact on the way we express ourselves on the net."

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