New domain name extensions approved

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The body that regulates domain name registration (ICANN) has approved a plan to increase the possible extensions to a domain name significantly. Currently there are just 22 extensions (.co.uk, .com etc) but this is to be expanded to include just about anything you can think of, such as .beer or .windows.

There are no restrictions on language, so new extensions are not limited to English – however there are a number of restrictions that are intended to stop cyber-squatters from purchasing an extension with the sole purpose of selling it to a company with a genuine interest at a profit. The most obvious of these restrictions is cost: it will cost approx $185,000 to apply for a new extension and then $25,000 a year thereafter to maintain it.

Much has been made of the fact that this opens the domain registration system to the international community but the prohibitive cost of the new extensions will simply reinforce the dominance of big online players and corporations whilst nicely lining the pockets of ICANN.