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By Wes Brown
The tremendous amount of information available on the World Wide Web is attempting to sort itself out, with the introduction of seven additional domain suffixes.
Brett Legrande, media contact for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said the creation of dot-info, dot-biz, dot-name, dot-pro, dot-museums, dot-aero and dot-coop, were chosen this week to help the Internet co-ordinate the millions of domain names currently found on-line.
"This is the first time [the ICANN] has ever done something like this," he said, of the expansion. "This will hopefully take a lot of stress off of the 'dot-com' domain."
Legrande said the new domains will each have specific criteria attached to their names that sites will have to meet. He said dot-biz will refer to business sites, dot-info for informational sites, dot-name for personal user sites, dot-pro for professionals, dot-museum for museums, dot-aero for airlines and dot-coop for co-operative and usually not for profit shared sites.
"ICANN received 44 applicants, each with one to 100 proposed suffixes. The ones that were chosen went through a staff report as well as the board of directors going through them," he said.
Legrande explained the new domains will now sign registry agreements with ICANN and then they will be sent to the department of commerce, where they will be uploaded on the route servers. He added the public will not see them in use until the end of the second quarter of the upcoming year.
"I won't jump to use one of those suffixes," said Dennis Kwasnicki, executive director at the Association of Web Professionals.
"The Internet is expanding all the time but personally, if I had the choice between a dot-biz and a dot-com I would want a dot-com. All of the major companies are dot-com. When it comes down to it, it's where it all started."
Kwasnicki said he thought the general public would eventually catch on to the new names, but would always go back to the dot-com. "It's not like you're not going to be found [on the Web] but it's just easier the other way."
He questioned why site owners would want to change their addresses if they have already got theirs published. "Some make a lot of sense but for the most part, I can't see why a big company would want to switch."
Western's Information and Technology Services assistant director, Bill Genn, said in the short term, the barrage of new domains could lead to confusion.
"There will be some public resistance in the beginning," he said. "Companies may rush at the new names but the public will go more slowly. Trying to change the behavior of a really large group is difficult."
Genn said there is no stopping the progression of the World Wide Web and as a result, the tools used by the consumer will have to get more sophisticated.
"People will use the easiest tools available to them and because of this, the 'Yahoo's' and the 'Netscapes' will have to get more sophisticated," he said.