Source: Monday, June 20th, 2011

Drinks firms could profit from internet expansion

A relaxation of the rules around internet domain names could allow drinks companies to acquire a bigger slice of the web for their brands.

New rules set to come into force next year would make it possible for companies to acquire domain name endings such as .coke or .beer.

The change follows a vote by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in which its board of directors backed a plan to broaden the list of approved domain name endings. Currently, only 22 so-called 'generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are allowed, including .com and .org.

"Today's decision respects the rights of groups to create new top-level domains in any language or script," said ICANN's president and CEO, Rod Beckstrom.

"There is no doubt that companies in the drinks industry will be looking to get their top-level domains," said Ben Crawford, who is CEO of domain name registry CentralNic and its recently-launched new gTLD service, dotBrand Solutions.

Speaking to just-drinks today (20 June) from the ICANN summit in Singapore, he said: "Players could also look at generic names, such as .beer or .wine."

He said that there could be competition between players to register certain domain names. While Crawford said that many companies will initially look at ICANN's decision from a brand protection perspective, he said that the marketing possibilities "are very exciting".

ICANN has said that it will accept applications for new gTLDs from January 2012.

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