Businesses may soon be able to register their brands as domain names depending on the outcome of a vote to be held by the world’s key online regulator tomorrow in Paris.
The decision will be made tomorrow by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the non-government body that sets the rules for domain names.
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The BBC reports that, if approved, the proposal will allow businesses and other organisations to purchase new top-level domain names in just about any form – for example, .apple or .ebay.
If the new system is adopted, names will reportedly be available for purchase in 2009, with prices expected to range around the $US50,000 mark. Preference will be given to the organisations with IP rights in relation to particular names.
If there is a dispute over a particular name that cannot be resolved through arbitration, the issue will be resolved by commercial muscle, with the name going to the highest bidder.
“The impact of this will be different in different parts of the world,” ICANN chief executive Paul Twomey told the BBC. “But it will allow groups, communities and business to express their identities online. It’s a massive increase in the geography of the real estate of the internet.”