New domain names to increase options

If you have been frustrated because someone else registered your preferred Web domain name, you may be in luck. Responding to overdemand in the .com domain category and to provide a better organization of domain names, authorities overseeing Internet domain names have authorized seven new category names that will be available later this year. Registration fees are expected to begin at around $30 to $50, but access to these websites won’t be universal as is the case with .com, .org and .net. Access to some domain names will be limited to members of specific industries.

The additional names will open up millions of potential new Web addresses, but the business community is divided on whether this is a good idea. There is little to prevent speculators from staking ground in the new domains and selling the rights to the highest bidder, and the additional domain names might confuse the average user. Regardless, the Web is expanding, and the way we navigate is about to change.

Here is a quick look at who is running the new domains and who they are supposed to help:

.aero SITA, an airline telecommunications company based in Geneva, is creating this domain for members of the air transport industry alone.

.biz NeuLevel, a new U.S. domain name registry created through the merger of NeuStar and Australia-based Melbourne IT, is aiming this domain at businesses, but anyone can sign up. Accredited registrars are now accepting applications for dot-biz websites.

.coop The National Cooperative Business Association, a Washington group representing 48,000 U.S. cooperatives, is hoping to help co-ops by giving them a more visible Web presence.

.info Afilias, a consortium of 19 domain name registries, including Network Solutions and Register.com, is opening this general domain name to anyone interested. Accredited registrars are now accepting applications for dot-info websites.

.name The Global Name Registry, based in London, is hoping to attract the casual Web designer to post personal Web pages and e-mail addresses here. Their motto is, “a .name for everyone.”

.museum A new nonprofit, the Museum Domain Management Association, is supporting museums worldwide by offering accredited institutions this new wing of the Web.

.pro Based in Dublin, RegistryPro, an offshoot of Register.com and Virtual Internet, is limiting this domain name to doctors, lawyers, accountants and professionals with similar credentials.

The Internet Corporation approved the new domain names for Assigned Names and Numbers last November. ICANN is a nonprofit corporation that was formed in 1998 by a broad coalition of the Internet’s business, technical, academic and user communities. ICANN controls IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management and other functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and other entities. These specifications must be coordinated globally for the Internet to function.