(Bloomberg News) Websites will no longer need to use suffixes such as ".com" and ".org," according to the group that manages Internet addresses.
Requests for the domains, which can include the names of companies or generic domains like ".shop" or ".music," will be accepted from Jan. 12 to April 12, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers said in a statement on its website. Users will be able to register domains in any language, it said.
The move would pave the way for domain names to expand beyond the 22 existing top-level ones and may help prevent so- called cybersquatting, the practice of registering domain names and then selling them to trademark owners at a profit.
"Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age," Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN's Board of Directors, the statement said. "We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration."
Applications will cost $185,000, and the first of these "top level domain names" won't go live until the end of 2012, Adrian Kinderis, a member of ICANN's advisory council, said in an interview today.
Canon Inc., Deloitte and Hitachi Ltd. are among companies that have expressed interest in company domain names, while generic names will be auctioned to the highest bidders, Kinderis said.