The body in charge of the Internet's name conventions, ICANN, has approved the first of a coming wave of generic top-level domains that will dramatically expand the list from the familiar .com and .co.uk and so on. The four new domains are:
شبكة —Arabic for "Web"
游戏 —Chinese for "Game"
онлайн —Russian for "Online"
сайт —Russian for "Web site"
But in debates about other controversial top-level domains, ICANN indicates that Amazon may lose its application for .amazon. Why? Because the same name applies to, you know, the world's second longest river, which flows through Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. U.S. firm Patagonia applied for .patagonia, but is now thought to have withdrawn the claim on the understanding that ICANN would turn it down in favor of the actual South American region.
The ongoing rulings will be closely watched by companies and governments around the world because they will have significant implications for companies like Google, and also because they'll influence PR efforts and lawsuits for years to come.
[Image: By Flickr user Pedro Szekely]