Personalised domain suffixes up for grabs

New domain name suffixes are being auctioned off this week in an attempt to widen the spectrum of website domains available to be hosted across the web.

However some believe the implementation will simply create further confusion.

Suffixes such as “.com” and “.co.nz” may soon become less commonplace as companies and organisations move to add their own suffixes such as “.bank”, “.sport” and “.NYC” to the equation.

Critics say these extra implementations will leave many Internet users dazed, that users are more likely to find domains by using search engines than to know the official site addresses themselves.

The oversight agency for Internet addresses, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which holds global responsibility for managing IP address space allocation and domain name system management, will begin taking bids for new suffixes later this week.

New Zealand’s first ICANN accredited domain registrar Web Drive currently host the general selection of domain suffixes including “.co.nz” but are not planning on pursuing the similar pathway ICANN are following according to Web Drive sales manager Neil Webster.

“Web Drive, along with other domain registrars, have been invited to follow ICANN’s model for implementation in New Zealand, but with the market smaller here in than most countries’ the chances of us pursuing the same pathway while filling a profitable niche are quite low,’ says Webster.

“No plans have been made to implement these new domain suffix options in New Zealand as of yet, but the possibility remains open.”

Regardless of criticism over the proposal’s stability, ICANN plans to proceed with its schedule with ICANN CEO Rod Beckstorm saying many adjustments have been made to address criticisms raised over the years.

“This is a change, and whenever there’s a change, there is anxiety,” says Mr Beckstorm. “We’re doing our best to administer a fair and equitable system that the global community has designed.”

These new domain names will be restricted to a high-income market, as it will cost roughly $US185,000 ($NZ232,000) to apply and at least $25,000 a year to keep the domain maintained.

In addition to these high costs, a ten-year commitment is required, raising the total maintenance bill to around $US250,000 for a decade of hosting one of these domains.

Domain names will be open for bidding this Thursday at 12:01 a.m. GMT.