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ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) will draw 1900 new sponsored top level domains (TLDs) in a prioritisation draw, Tuesday Australian time.

Successful bidders will be chosen through a lottery draw – which means for the first time we’ll have some foresight on what kind of names we can expect to hit the web from mid next year, when the sponsored TLDs will join the existing generic URL suffixes like .com and .org.

Australian TLDs in the mix include the AFL (.afl), Victorian and NSW governments (.melbourne and .sydney), three of the big four banks ANZ, NAB and CBA, Australia Post, iiNet, Telstra, Tabcorp and Channel Seven. Global brands include Google, McDonalds and Apple. The draw will take 7 hours and starts at 8:00 am AEDT Tuesday 18 December.

The original generic TLDS date from the 1980s, when seven were defines (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org). Domain names may be registered in three of these (.com, .net, and .org) without restriction; the other four have limited purposes.

In years following the creation of the original TLDs, various discussions occurred concerning additional TLDs, leading to the adoption in November 2000 of seven new TLDs. Four of these (.biz, .info, .name, and .pro) are unsponsored. The other three new TLDs (.aero, .coop, and .museum) are sponsored. In 2003, ICANN initiated a process that resulted in the introduction of six new TLDs (.asia, .cat, .jobs, .mobi, .tel and .travel) that are sponsored.

The new round of sponsored TLDs vastly increases the number and variety of Internet addresses.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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