Not Just Dot-Com, But Dot-Yournamehere The organization that controls website names says it will allow almost any word to be used in Internet address suffixes. It would be most attractive to companies that want new ways to exploit their investment in a brand. The fee is $185,000.
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Not Just Dot-Com, But Dot-Yournamehere

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Not Just Dot-Com, But Dot-Yournamehere

Not Just Dot-Com, But Dot-Yournamehere

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

As NPR's Nina Gregory reports, this my mean a move from the dot-com era to the dot-everything era.

NINA GREGORY: There are currently 23 possible endings for a Web address - the ubiquitous dot-com, dot-gov, dot-edu and, of course, dot-org and ICANN's new ruling may change all of that.

MONTAGNE: The most significant change to the Internet, really, since it was created.

GREGORY: That's Peter Dengate Thrush. He is the chairman of ICANN's board of directors.

MONTAGNE: The theory is that, or the hope is, that this is going to lead to innovation in ways we can't imagine.

GREGORY: Dengate-Thrush explains the fee.

MONTAGNE: It's not the price of a domain name. This is to create a registry that will compete with dot-com, for example. Now to build a registry that can sell and manage millions and even hundreds of millions of domain names, you're talking a reasonably serious business investment.

GREGORY: The former and founding chair of the ICANN board is Esther Dyson. She does not see the value in this new naming system.

MONTAGNE: I'm not a big fan of this. I think it's kind of a useless market, and if I had $185,000, I'd spend it on something else.

GREGORY: Dyson says a new naming system is unnecessary and especially at this price.

MONTAGNE: There's really no need for it and it costs a lot. And nobody's creating new value here, they're just selling words. The trademark system is good enough.

GREGORY: Jeff Ernst is a principal analyst at Forrester Research and an expert in marketing strategy. He says the biggest brands are already looking to invest in new dot-names.

MONTAGNE: Just about any big-brand company wants to have as much control over their Web presence as they can, and this gives them a way to do it without yielding to the dot-com primary.

GREGORY: What this means is that big brands see big opportunities. He gives an example of what a company like Canon could do. In addition to acquiring what are called generic domain names like dot-camera, Canon could create photo-sharing websites all grouped within the dot-Canon or dot-camera domains.

MONTAGNE: So not only is Canon now going to be dot-Canon, but Canon can now issue secondary domains to every one of its camera owners, and what they might very well do is embed a chip in their cameras that link that camera owner to their ID so that as they're taking photos, they could just be automatically uploading photos to a photo-sharing site, and that's just one possibility.

MONTAGNE: Canon.com works fine, as far as I'm concerned.

GREGORY: Again, Esther Dyson. She says this is an expensive solution for the wrong problem.

MONTAGNE: The real issue isn't even dot-com versus dot-camera. In the long run, it's let's use Google.

GREGORY: Nina Gregory, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News.

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