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.Bank, .Global Could be Coming to Your Net Browser

May 31, 2012

Internet users could find themselves visiting a website ending with the top-level domain .bank or .global at some point in the not-so-distant future. Those are just some of the names that have been submitted as part of a program to allow for the introduction of an unlimited number of new Internet addresses.

Following Wednesday's deadline to apply to run a new domain name, some of the applicants have started revealing the names they are seeking to offer Internet users. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which manages the Internet's domain name system and launched the new domain name program in January, will reveal all the proposed domain name extensions on June 13.

ICANN said that as of one hour before Wednesday's deadline, more than 1,900 new domain name applications had been submitted. Whether all those names will eventually make it to the domain name system remains to be seen.

ICANN will begin evaluating the applications in July to ensure the groups offering them have the technical and financial means to operate a top-level domain, which is the name to the far right of the dot such as .com or .org. At the same time, governments will be given a chance to object to those extensions that might conflict with a geographical place or raise other concerns.

Google announced Thursday that it had applied for several domain names but would not reveal how many. Among the names Google said it was seeking include .Google, .docs, .Youtube and .lol.

"By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse--and perhaps shorter--signposts in cyberspace," Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf wrote in a blog post.

Cerf, a pioneer in the development of the Internet, served as ICANN's chairman from 2000-2007 but voiced concerns last year about ICANN's new domain name program.

Late Wednesday, the American Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable announced they had applied to offer .bank and .insurance on behalf of the financial services industry to provide users with confidence that they are dealing with legitimate financial institutions. The groups said the dot-bank or dot-insurance extensions would only be available to financial institutions chartered by their home country financial regulators or those that had been vetted by ABA and Financial Services Roundtable.

"The industry has applied for .bank and .insurance to provide the highest security for the millions of customers conducting banking and insurance activities online and to ensure the safety and soundness of the industry," Craig Schwartz, head of operations for the ABA and Roundtable domain name initiative, said in a statement.

The two groups said they had enlisted the support for the two names from other financial services institutions around the world including the American Bankers Insurance Association, British Bankers' Association, Australian Bankers' Association, European Banking Federation, Independent Community Bankers of America, and the International Banking Federation.

Other names that have been submitted include .cloud and .global, which domain name services provider CloudNames has applied to run. The company said it hopes the new names can compete with .com , the most widely used top-level domain.

"In applying for these two unrestricted gTLDs we want to give businesses and individuals the chance to secure new and highly relevant domains," CloudNames CEO Rolf Larsen said in a news release.

Meanwhile, the group that currently operates the .org registry has applied to operate .ngo and .ong. The Public Interest Registry said the two names would be focused on non-governmental organizations. The group is offering .ong to reflect the initials that coincide with the translation of NGO in some non-English languages such as the French "Organisation Non Gouvernementale."

"After meeting with hundreds of organizations worldwide to learn more about their missions and to determine how we, as their current registry, could better serve their communities, we found that no matter the location, NGOs desired a definitive online presence to help manage members, strengthen fundraising campaigns and find potential partners and donors," Public Interest Registry CEO Brian Cute said in a statement.

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