Canon announced its intention to be the first to bid farewell to .com and replace it with .canon. For someone so young, I found myself balking at the press release. Say goodbye to .com and the other generic Top Level Domains. (gTLDs?) Those have been the standard for as long as I've been alive!
I knew that ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, had previously decided to open Web addresses to non-Latin characters — a step that acknowledges the Internet's global use.
I missed the bus on casting aside the gTLDs for branded alternatives.
The process opening gTLDs for broader registration began in 2008 and ICANN is on track for the release of the new system. Behind the policy-setting body is Rod Beckstrom, who is committed to seeking innovation on the Web. Wired quotes Beckstrom as saying: "One of the least innovative spaces in the Internet is the global top-level domains. It's an anomaly. When the Internet opens up, then there is innovation."
I originally thought this would lead to confusion. If I don't know a URL, a good bet is that it will be found at NAME.com. But one of my colleagues reined in my panic by suggesting that companies will retain their old domains. Plus, if this gains popularity in coming years, we'll likely adjust and first try to reach a Web site through its branded domain.
At the earliest, these new domains will appear in 2011, giving me plenty of time to cast off my old-world constructs and embrace a new way to reach my favorite sites.