The guardians of the internet have finally unlatched a few gates: four, to be precise.

On Wednesday the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – otherwise known as Icann, the private body that oversees the sprawling architecture of the web – announced that it was opening up four new generic top-level domain names, writes Sally DaviesRead more

More good news for Istanbul’s ambitions to establish itself as a hub: even the internet is hearkening to its call. Fadi Chehade, chief executive of ICANN, the organisation responsible for administrating the domain name and IP address systems, announced on Thursday his group was setting up shop in Istanbul.

To be precise, ICANN is splitting its headquarters into three – the old base in Los Angeles, a new outlet in Singapore, and Istanbul itself, as a step towards a more global, and a more seamless operation.

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Nobody, it seems, wants to miss out on the African growth story (as many telecoms did in the 1990s). Another rallying cry was issued on Tuesday by ICANN – the body that regulates the naming system for websites – calling for a rapid expansion of domain registrars, and pushing ahead with six new offices on the continent.

“We’re coming to you” – that was the message of ICANN president Fadi Chehadé. And Africa might ask: “What took you so long?”

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The body overseeing the allocation of new web addresses has revealed intense competition for certain domain names and strong demand for non-Latin web suffixes as companies apply to own potential rivals to .com, writes Duncan Robinson.
A total of 1,930 applications for new web suffixes were made, with more than a third of these aimed at just 229 addresses, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organisation in charge of regulating web domains. Read more

The deadline to apply for a new top level domain name has been extended by just over a week to Friday, April 20th after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) was hit by software problems.

The deadline to apply for new, generic internet suffixes such as .london and .nyc was meant to close at midnight on Thursday, but California-based Icann said there had been technical issues with the software handling applications.  Read more

Companies are not exactly beating down Icann’s door to get their hands on a new .anything domain name, it seems.

One month into the application process, just 100 companies have so far registered to apply for  a new top level domain name such as .coke or .london.  It is the first indication of what the uptake will be like of the controversial expansion of internet names by Icann.   Read more

The Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers, which was dragged into creating the top-level domain .xxx for adult web addresses under threat of litigation, has now been sued for doing so. Read more

Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers chief executive Rod Beckstrom said late on Tuesday that he would leave the most central job in internet governance when his contract expires in July. Read more

Icann logoRepurposing Churchill quotes is popular among those involved with Icann. Those pushing for reform of the organisation that manages the world’s internet domain names call it the “worst system of internet governance, apart from all the others”.

Steve Crocker, Icann’s newly elected chairman, has his own favourite quote: “It is not the end, not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.”

A veteran computer scientist who help create the very foundations of the internet,  Mr Crocker wants people to be patient with the Californian non-proft company, which is only 13 years old and just beginning to get into its stride in improving the structure of the internet. Read more

With the wholesale expansion of its top-level domain name system, ICANN, the internet’s addressing body, has just taken its boldest – and riskiest – step yet.

Make no mistake: there is no shortage of political opponents hoping that this initiative will blow up in its face, and ready to use it to push again for a new system of international oversight of the internet’s core addressing system. Read more

Security firm KnujOn (backwards for No Junk, reflecting the small outfit’s anti-spam roots) has a new report out this morning, pointing a finger at website registrars for facilitating a wide range of internet crime.

My story in today’s FT centres on the case KnujOn makes against eNom, the No. 2 seller of domain names and a profitable unit of Demand Media, which would probably prefer that any stink wait until after its anticipated IPO.

But the bigger picture is more important. Read more

Maija Palmer and Richard Waters report on plans to expand dramatically the number of top-level web domains:

“A representative of the Pope has written to Icann with concerns over how it would ensure that sensitive religious domains – “.catholic”, “.muslim” or even “.god” – would not fall into the wrong hands. Public interest groups, meanwhile, fear that the changes mark part of a more general rewriting of the rules of the internet that could see free speech lose out to commercial interests.”

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  • The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as ICANN, picked as the nonprofit group’s chief executive Rod Beckstrom, who until earlier this year served as cyber-security czar at the US Department of Homeland Security. Like his predecessors, Mr Beckstrom didn’t accomplish much there, but it later emerged he had a skeleton staff and equivalent funding. ICANN is as close to a governing body as the internet gets, but its core mission is minding the process by which Website names and numeric addresses are assigned.
  • Some early buyers of Windows 7 will get it for the knock-down price of $49.99. Rob Enderle thought the limited-time special offer was a direct response to the $29 Apple is charging for an upgrade to Snow Leopard. Michael Gartenberg called it a “missed opportunity” to give all Vista users the chance to move beyond the much-maligned operating system.

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  • A judge approved Yahoo‘s plan to change a controversial severance plan that would have added to the cost any acquirer would face to buy the company. Yahoo’s shares rose 4 per cent, making it one of the few companies to gain on the day – though Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that he would not consider a full takeover.
  • Apple‘s shares took a hit after a JP Morgan analyst warned that wilting consumer demand was starting to eat deeper into second quarter sales. Among other things, JP Morgan lopped 11 per cent off its forecast for iPhone shipments and 8 per cent off its Mac shipment forecast.

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Forget the vanity licence plates and the personalised URLs: what about owning your own top-level internet domain name, to put yourself on a par with the .coms and .govs? You’ll probably be able to apply for one by the end of this year – though it’ll cost you $185,000.

There is a serious side to the explosion in top-level domain (TLD) names that is about hit the internet. When anyone can pay up to create one – not to mention the myriad of new URLs that will suddenly become available – how on earth will companies protect their trademarks? And how will internet users find their way around a confusing virtual world in which www.coca.cola could be competing for attention with www.cola.coke? Read more