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Coming soon to the Internet: The .whatever address

  • FILE - In this March 16, 2010 file photo, former President Bill Clinton gives the keynote address at the "25 Years of Dot Com Policy Impact Forum" in Washington. Internet minders voted Monday, June 20, 2011 to allow virtually unlimited new domain names based on themes as varied as company brands, entertainment and political causes, in the system's biggest shake-up since it started 26 years ago. Groups able to pay the $185,000 application can petition next year for new updates to ".com" and ".net" with suffixes using nearly any word in any language, including in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided at a meeting in Singapore. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

SINGAPORE — A quarter-century after the creation of ".com," the agency that assigns Internet addresses is loosening its rules and allowing suffixes named after brands, hobbies, political causes and just about anything else.

Under guidelines approved Monday, Apple could register addresses ending in ".ipad," Citi and Chase could share ".bank" and environmental groups could go after ".eco." Japan could have ".com" in Japanese.

It's the biggest change to the system of Internet addresses since it was created in 1984.

More than 300 suffixes are available today, but only a handful, such as the familiar ".net" and ".com," are open for general use worldwide. Hundreds of new suffixes could be established by late next year, thousands in years to come.

"This is the start of a whole new phase for the Internet," said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the California nonprofit organization in charge of Internet addresses.


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