Forget confusing web addresses! Soon if you just type SBI on your
browser you can go to the web site of the State Bank of India
or by merely typing SpiceJet, the airline's portal opens before
you -- no .com, .net, .in, .org or .edu.
The way you surf the net is set for another revolution. The global
non-profit organistion that oversees domain addresses is lifting
the restrictions on suffixes, which will enable companies and
people to personalise their presence on the web even further.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will open
up the new domain name system beyond the current 22 generic
domains such as .com, .gov, .info, .biz, or .int to just about
anything. These will be supplemented by thousands in virtually any
But this is where the happy story ends.
The application money alone will set you back by $185,000 (Rs.85
lakh) and more for the process. The window for applying will be
open for four months starting Jan 1. And if you miss the bus, it
is uncertain when fresh applications will be accepted.
"You can call the fee steep. But look at the potential. It creates
a separate level of branding," said Jasjit Sawhney, chief
executive of Net4 India, one of the largest web hosting providers,
and among those authorised to register domain names in India.
"For established names, it creates a separate level of branding.
There is no doubt a few thousands of top global brands will go for
this. In their overall spend, this will just be a drop in the
ocean," Sawhney told IANS.
"Now, it is very easy to go phishing, hijacking people's
identities and diverting them to another place. If you register
sbicreditcardschennai.com and place an SBI logo on the page, it
will look authentic and easily misguide users to this domain
address," he said.
"But if SBI itself is the extension, there is no chance of
For the new domain extensions, three categories will be permitted
-- based on the brand or firm names, generic names and community
or geographical names. But domain names like India will be
reserved for the government -- but get it only if it applies.
"For some government bodies, it can also become a significant
revenue model as they can sell domain prefixes. We are already in
discussions with four state governments," said Sahwney, but
declined to name them.
"Then there are the generic domains which do not belong to
anybody. These would be like .web, .food, or .shoes. There is
going to be a frenzy for these. They will be auctioned and my bet
is each of them would fetch over $10 million," he added.
Accordingly, smaller players -- say, someone running a stand-alone
restaurant -- can buy a prefix of the entity's name from whoever
has the rights for the generic names of food or restaurant.
"These will, of course, come cheap. My guess is as low as $5-$10."
(James Jose can
be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)