Dot combat - An expensive row over new web address suffixes

IT IS the online equivalent of the land-grabs of 19th-century America. Earlier this year the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the outfit in charge of addresses in cyberspace, allowed applications for new suffixes. That would allow new domains, such as .microsoft, .paris and .music, to join the 22 existing handles, such as .com and .info.

This move has generated excitement, but also controversy. Security experts fret about fraud. Even if the new suffixes flop, brand owners complain they will have to spend millions buying domains they don’t want, just to protect their online identities. The cost was pitched high to deter time wasters: $185,000 to ICANN to start with, an annual $25,000–and tens of thousands in lawyers’ fees. But such “defensive registrations” will be costly for small businesses and charities—and a nuisance for big ones, who may have to register multiple domains. Continue reading at The Economist

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