Goodbye .com, Hello .anything?

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end for .com era as we know it?

A decision today by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has given the thumbs up to increase the number of internet domain name endings. So as well as .com, .co.uk, .gov and so on, we could start seeing a new type of web address which can end with almost anything – including a brand name.

The new suffixes will being appearing in 2012 and Canon has reportedly already stated its intention to buy the ‘.canon’ domain name. Companies will also have the opportunity to apply for generic suffixes, such as ‘.camera’ or ‘.supermarket’.

So, will we see the end of .coms favour of .anythings?

Well, there is a price to be paid for these new top level domains, or TDLs. $185,000 (£114,200), to be precise. Plus an annual fee of $25,000 (£15,400). So certainly they’re not for everyone. But no doubt the big brands will lead the way.

Rod Beckstrom, president and SEO of Icann, said: “Icann has opened the internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination”, while Peter Dengate Thrush, the chairman of Icann’s board of directors, said: “Today’s decision will usher in a new internet age.”

No doubt it will also usher in a number of legal disputes and a lot of pain for companies that get the transition process wrong… Certainly one to keep an eye on!