Come 2012, confused camera customers might be able to point their browsers to a Web address that looks very different from what's available today: support.canon.
That's because the organization in charge of such names, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is planning on a dramatic rewriting of the rules for Web addresses that could demote .com's importance.
Today there are just a few of what are called generic top-level domains--.com, .net, .org, .biz, and .edu, for example. But ICANN wants to open the door to, potentially, hundreds or thousands more of these GTLDs.
That's a big change, especially for those who have a brand to protect on the Internet and were taken by surprise by the virtual land grab that took place with .com addresses in the 1990s. Here's a look at what GTLDs mean now and in the future.
What is a generic top-level domain, and how do I get one? In an Internet address, the top-level domains is what comes after the last period in the main server address. There are two broad types: the generic top-level domains such as .com and country code top-level domains such as .jp for Japan or .de for Germany. With ICANN's expansion, though, the term "generic" is something of a misnomer: it could include not only something like .auto or .hotel, but also branded domains such as .ibm or .safeway. … Read more