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Firms pitch 10 new top-level domain names

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has received applications for 10 new sponsored top-level domains...

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has received applications for 10 new sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs), to expand the internet's pool of website addresses by catering to narrower online communities.

The proposed sTLDs include ".mobi", the new mobile TLD proposed by nine industry companies aiming to advance the delivery of mobile content and services; ".asia", sponsored by China's DotAsia Organisation; ".jobs", sponsored by the US Society for Human Resource Management; and ".mail", sponsored by the UK's Anti-Spam Community Registry.

The applications came in response to a request for proposals Icann made last December and are now up for review in May by an independent evaluation panel. A public comment period runs from 1 to 30 April.

Icann, the non-profit organisation which oversees technical matters related to the internet, made the call for new TLD proposals as part of an effort to expand the number of communities addressed by the net's domain name system.

The call for sponsored TLDs is a first step toward defining a streamlined process for implementing generic TLDs such as .net and .com.

The group has said that sponsored TLDs are easier to implement than generic ones, which operate under policies established by the global net community under the Icann process. With the specialised, sponsored TLDs, the sponsor carries out some of the policy-formation responsibilities, Icann said.

Other proposed sTLDs include ".post", from the Universal Postal Union; ".tel", proposed by both New York's Pulver.com and London's Telname; ".travel", from New York's Travel Partnership, ".xxx", from Canada's International Foundation for Online Responsibility; and ".cat" from Fundació puntCAT.

After evaluation by the independent panel, qualifying sTLD applicants will be eligible to enter technical and commercial negotiations with Icann.

The group did not say how many new sTLDs it plans to adopt. Existing sTLDs include .aero for the aerospace industry and .museum.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service

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