Saturday, June 28, 2008

Get the domain name you want

Nearly 40 years after the virtual world started, companies and individuals will be able to apply for any address on the Internet and not be limited to just the 21 suffixes like .com (accounting for 80 per cent), .net and .info or country-specific appendages like .in for India. Top-level domain names till date were restricted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) -- an international not-for-profit body that oversees the structure of the Internet. Its board, according to Paul Twomey, president and CEO of ICANN, has now given the go-ahead for total freedom on domain name and the final version is expected to be published in early-2009. Companies and netizens can thus have unlimited choices such as .indian, .mumbai, .delhi, .bangalore, .chennai, . paris, .timbuctoo, .dilipkumar, .amitabhbachhan or .whateveryouwant. Like all desired things, these would come for a price: Rs 40 lakh to Rs 2 crore. Indian corporate houses like the Tatas, Birlas or Reliance [Get Quote], for instance, could apply for .tata, .birla or .reliance and the fee will not dent their balance sheet. If they get the domain name, they could, in turn, give each employee a .tata or .birla or .reliance email identity. The move is also expected to prompt many registrars, both Indian and foreign, to apply for registry status and form joint ventures with foreign companies. It's a lucrative business and requires low investments since the basic infrastructure is in place. ICANN appoints registries, such as Verisign for .com, to sells domain names. The registries pay ICANN only 25 cents (around Rs 10) per domain name. What remains after deducting costs is their profit. Registrars, in turn, buy domain names from registries and pay them $6 (about Rs 245) for each domain name in addition to the Rs 10 to be paid to ICANN. Net 4, an Indian domain name registrar, has already firmed up plans to apply for registry status, according to its CEO, Jasjit Sawhney. Meanwhile, ICANN said that trademark and intellectual property owners will get priority. Applicants also have to show "business plan and technical capacity". Disputed domains will be auctioned to the highest bidder. ICANN also reserves the right to reject a domain on "morality or public order" grounds, and the matter may go to an international arbitration committee. Critics however say the instances of domain squatting (buying names and selling them at higher prices) could increase. Currently, there are over 76 million .com names, while .biz -- the 10th-most popular -- has 2 million. There are 5 million .info names with around 650,000 added every year, and around 440,000 .in (India) registrations. An increase in clutter might make the .com stand out even more. "The .in domain did not take off, so the new TLDs will not affect the internet and .com will always rule," said Vijay Mukhi, an Internet expert.
Courtesy - Business Today

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