Internet: Companies can use their own names as domain

The majority of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted (13-1) in favor of the proposal during a meeting in Singapore, despite fears that this change may cause some confusion by encouraging big brands.

The changes will mean that companies will no longer be limited to the list of generic top level domains (gTLDs) that include .com, .net and .org. Instead they can use their own name.

ICANN chairman Peter Thrush said at a press conference that the new system will be a “tremendous opportunity for people to take control of this aspect of their branding and develop it in their own way.”

George Sadowsky, the only board member who voted against the change stated that “I believe that it is not ICANN’s job to influence the choice of winners and losers in such competitions, and that is implicitly what we will be doing.”

ICANN chief executive, Rod Beckstrom, said that requests for the new web suffixes will begin on January 12, 2012 and will end after 90 days.

ICANN will develop a communication campaign to inform the public about the changes, although about 120 companies have already expressed public interest in the program.

Corporate domain names won’t be cheap. A company will pay about $ 185,000 just to apply and will meet several criteria to receive approval from ICANN.

The fee is necessary to recover the costs associated with the new gTLDs and to ensure that it is fully funded, ICANN said. It also deters opportunists who would acquire the name only to resell it for a higher amount.

Only “established corporations, organisations, or institutions in good standing” will buy these areas. Individuals cannot apply.