The Web Address Gold Rush

A new realm of Web addresses will be opened this week where almost any word can be used as a domain name. Looking to sell, digital entrepreneurs are racing to buy up the best names.

What's the Latest Development?

This week, the organization that oversees the Internet will begin accepting applications to manage new domain names that will appear at the end of website addresses. While just applying to control a domain name will cost $185,000, some entrepreneurs see a potential business. "Even if they succeed in their quest to become registry holders, these entrepreneurs will likely need to spend hundreds of thousand of dollars annually on technical support and promotional efforts to generate revenue consistently."

What's the Big Idea?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, is the name of the nonprofit that regulates the world's Internet domain names. Rather than use the single domain '.com', the new Web will diversify to include domains like '.shop' or '.jobs' which Icann hopes will create more choice on the Internet and possibly spur innovation. The opening of new applications—made complex to prevent abuseis the first time in a decade individuals can try to control broader slices of the Internet.

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