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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 11:36 GMT
New domain names aid net to grow
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New net domains will be decided this year
New net domain names including .xxx for pornographic sites and .mobi for phones could be live by early 2005.

Ten organisations have applied to the net's ruling body with proposals for nine new net domain names.

If approved, the new domains will be the first added to the net since 2000 when seven novel domains were set up.

To win approval the proposals must go through a public comment period and survive scrutiny by a panel of internet experts.

Conflicting claims

The organisations have applied to Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers that oversees the net's addressing and naming system, for permission to create the new addresses.

The net's first generic top level domains - .com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net and .org - date from the 1980s.

There are also more than 240 two-letter domains for countries and territories.

A further seven top level domains - .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop and .museum, were set up in 2000.

The last three of these newer domains were so-called sponsored domains created for a particular sector of industry or administered by a trade body or other representative group.

All the new domains proposed to Icann will also be sponsored.

Concerned net users will have a month to comment on the proposed new names from 1 April when Icann opens a consultation period on the suggested domains.

Following this the proposals will be scrutinised by independent experts for two months. If approved the new domains should be active by early 2005.

There looks likely to be conflict over the names as three of them are pitching for the same job, namely creating a net name space for mobile phones.

The proposal with the biggest backing is the .mobi domain for phones which has the backing of Nokia, Samsung, Microsoft and the GSM Association.

Two other concerns are independently proposing a .tel domain that will do the same job.

One proposal for the .mail domain has been put forward by anti-spam workers who want to use it for storing information about legitimate e-mail servers.

The .xxx proposal may not survive the scrutiny period because it has been suggested and rejected several times before now.

Each organisation paid $45,000 to submit their application for a new domain.

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