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Customised Domain Names
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ICANN, the organisation that oversees many of the net's top-level domains, recently announced the creation of customised TLDs. Whereas previously you were confined to a fixed roster of suffixes, designed to identify the kind of site you're running, from next year you'll have the chance to create your own generic top-level domain. Sweet makers could create their own '.choc' domain for example, or a charity could go with '.giveusyourcash. Just about anything will be permissible.

A custom domain will come at a hefty price when the first applications are processed in April or May 2009. While we're used to buying domain names now for a few pounds, creating a custom TLD will require a six-figure sum.

Even so, there's likely to be a gold rush period when the application dates are first announced, as organisations rush to register the most lucrative domains. Though cyber-squatters are now routinely thwarted by international trademark and intellectual property law, it will still be interesting to see the battle over disputed marks like Under the new rules, successful applicants will take on the mantel of a domain registry and be able to administrate the use of their custom domain. ICANN has already suggested that local organisations might use this to set up and administrate highly specific registries. "There are already interested consortiums wanting to establish city-based top level domain like .nyc, .berlin and .paris," an ICANN statement confirms.

There are also a range of new opportunities here, with businesses having the option of setting up their own mini-registry with a handful of choice, custom TLDs. As the chairman of ICANN suggested after the announcement, this is a "historic resolution".
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