PARIS: The global body that oversees web addresses, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has voted to allow companies and organizations buy their own top level domain names.

In effect, the relaxing of the regulations will create an unlimited number of TLDs, which are currently restricted to the familiar .com, .fr, .net, .gov and so on.

In future, businesses will be able to use their own brand name, for example .ebay or .ibm, or any combination of up to 64 characters or numbers. 

The cost of registering these new names will be anywhere between $100,000 (€63k; £50k) and $500,000, says the California-headquartered ICANN.
Declared the group's president/ceo, Paul Twomey: "What we're effectively doing is opening up huge amounts of online real estate."

The first newly monikered websites are likely to go live after April next year, when applications will be accepted for the expanded TLDs.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff