Web address boom could be search engine boon

The decision to open the Internet to a flood of Web addresses ending in anything from company names to social movements could prove a boon to search engines.

The Internet's global coordinator on Monday approved the creation of website addresses ending in just about any word, triggering one of the biggest ever shake-ups in how the web operates.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted overwhelmingly for the proposal at a meeting in Singapore despite fears the shift would cause some confusion and favor large companies.

The change shouldn't make it tougher to scour the Internet for what people seek, according to Internet search giant Google and its rival Bing.

"Google is experienced in ranking and returning web pages, regardless of top-level domain (TLD)," Google told AFP, referring to the code after the second dot in web addresses, such as .com, .gov and .org.

"If the best result is on a non-traditional domain, we still intend to return that page to our users," the California-based firm said.

Microsoft online services division senior director Adam Sohn said that freeing constraints on the endings of Web addresses will have "not much" of an impact on the company's Bing search engine.

"When you look at how search is done, the domains do not have a big impact... On the consumer side, people search using keywords or names, not domains," he said.

On the back end, or indexing side, search services examine content, links, and myriad other "signals" to rank pages in search results.

The new domain names could drive more traffic to search engines, as more users rely on them to navigate the amalgam of domain names.

"We feel that the decision to allow anyone to start their own top-level domain has the potential for widespread user confusion," Google said.

"In order to sort out this confusion, TLDs might actually cause users to turn to search engines more often."

The $185,000 price for companies or organizations to apply for generic TLDs of their choosing could reduce the explosion of Web addresses.

However, companies will be under pressure to buy the domain names just to make sure they control Web addresses related to their brands or images.

ICANN chairman Peter Thrush told reporters the new naming system will be a "tremendous opportunity for people to take control of this aspect of their branding and develop it in their own way."

Industry observers say global giants such as Apple, Toyota and BMW could be in the vanguard of launching websites with their own domain names, ending in ".apple", ".toyota" and ".bmw". Cities or trademark holders may do the same.

"Bottom line - the new names will almost certainly mean nothing special to search engines," Danny Sullivan of news blog Search Engine Land said in an online post. "They won't have any super ranking powers."

ICANN has spent years crafting a guide for approving applications for any suggested top level domains.

The process encountered controversy after the United States expressed interest in having veto power to preclude the creation of top level domains such as .gay that might be blocked in some countries.

"It was a suggestion by one government that was never picked up by the others," he told AFP. "It never got out of the gossip phase."

One concern was that countries blocking entire domains could lead to a balkanization of the Internet.

But Thrush dismissed the worry, reasoning that adult content is on the Internet regardless of what letters come at the end of websites.

"The issue is the content, which is exactly the same," Thrush said. "It doesn't change if a website becomes .gay."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

    £45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

    Ashdown Group: Junior SQL DBA - London - £39,000

    £37000 - £39000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: SQL Database Administrato...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Expanding creative studio requi...

    Day In a Page

    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible