Four new generic top-level domains (TLD’s) – the letters that appear at the end of web addresses, such as .com – have been announced.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) is expected to roll out the new names within weeks.They are: شبكة, the Arabic word for “web”; 游戏, the Chinese word for “game”; and the Russian words for “online” and “web site”, онлайн and сайт.
Icann hopes hundreds of new top-level domains will eventually be made.
Until now, generic top-level domains (gTLDS) – as they are known – were limited to mostly familiar endings such as .com, .net and .biz.
But Icann has decided to open this system up, inviting companies to submit applications for names they would like to register.
Firms came forward to request almost 2,000 new names including the likes of .porn, .ninja, and .ferrari. The BBC expressed an interest in .bbc.
Google made 101 requests, including .google and .youtube, and also had more unexpected ideas such as .and, .boo, .dad and .new.
It will take some time for Icann to process all of those requests, particularly in cases where more than one firm wants to own the same gTLD – such as .music, requested by both Amazon and Google.
The most popular domain name was .app – with 13 different companies interested in it.
Wednesday’s announcement marks the first set of domains in the new system to be approved.
All four of these new strings are Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) the first time non-Latin characters can be used in a generic TLD.
The idea is an effort to create a more inclusive internet.
The new domains will now “proceed to delegation”, the final stage before being made live – expected to happen by the end of November. Once this has happened, there is good reason to believe that TLD’s using Thai script will become available and more common.