New.net venture may increase cybersquatting

International

The start-up company New.net has revealed that it intends to offer 20 new top-level domains (TLDs) including '.sport', '.law', '.shop' and '.kids'. Although the new domains will in fact be third-level domains, downloadable software will make them appear as TLDs to online users.

It is likely that the scheme will impose further pressures on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is struggling to implement its own new TLDs.

Furthermore, little is known about the proposed administration of New.net's TLDs. It is likely that the problems already posed by cybersquatting will create havoc as New.net's TLDs are intended to be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Although there is obvious need for the expansion of the TLD system, a venture operating outside the auspices of ICANN is only likely to provide further problems. It may however be the catalyst for ICANN to respond to the demands of industry.

Susan Hall, Cobbetts, Manchester

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