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.
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