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New New.net domain names to hit Europe

Industry Standard
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By James Ledbetter

(IDG) -- Have you been hotly awaiting the chance to give your European business a Web address ending in ".golf"? Starting this week, you should be able to.

New.net, a California-based domain registry firm, Tuesday announced that it will make available ten new domain extensions to help Web sites describe their function more precisely. The ten extensions are: .arts, .school, .church., .love, .golf, .auction, .agent, .llp, .llc, and .scifi.

These extensions are not -- like the veteran .com, .net, or .org Extensions -- approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Rather, new.net uses routing software to divert Web surfers who type in the new domain and switches them to a New.net server.

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So, for example, visitors to a Web site called cantbuyme.love would actually be diverted to cantbuyme.love.new.net. The routing software can be provided through an ISP, or downloaded by individual users via the New.net site.

The company said the address extensions would be available later this week. Oddly, though the extensions are targeted toward Europe, they are priced in US currency, at $25 per year.

Earlier this year, New.net released 20 such renegade domain extensions, including .xxx, .hola, .mp3, and .gmbh. The company declined to release a figure for how many such domains it has sold, but said it was in the tens of thousands.

Steve Chadima, new.net's chief marketing officer, told The Standard he had predicted that .xxx would be the firm's best-selling extension. "It sells," he said, "but not as well as .inc and .shop."

Chadima said that New.net's technique would allow it to begin selling multilingual domain extensions, even using non-Western characters; he said the company would begin offering those before the end of 2001.

The firm acknowledges that it could run into conflict if ICANN decides to release one of its extensions (such as .llp) as a new top-level domain. "That's the bet we're taking," says Chadima. He argues that while ICANN is well positioned to make technical decisions about the Net, "the subject of which domain names get to be used is a political and economic question that ICANN is ill-equipped to deal with."

Given how slowly ICANN moves to issue new top-level domains, New.net is betting that it will have an advantage with any given extension. "If that happens, by the time that happens," Chadima says, "we'll have tens of millions of viewers and tens of thousands of site. They will be the collider at that point."








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