Per Reuters, “The Internet body that oversees domain names voted on Monday to end restricting them to suffixes like .com or .gov and will receive applications for new names from January 12 next year with the first approvals likely by the end of 2012.”

This move signals perhaps the biggest change ever administered on the internet. Companies like Microsoft or Target will be able to purchase domain suffixes in their namesake. By 2013, www.software.microsoft or www.shopping.target could be realistic web domain possibilities. Of course, I’m not being terribly creative and you can assume big-box giants will think long and hard about a domain that resonates with the public. It’s safe to say, there will be an influx of marketing dollars spent on campaigns highlighting new website domains.

For anyone 18 or older, it will most likely take a while to get used to. Currently, there are only 22 suffixes available (.com, .gov, .org) and 250 country  domains we rarely even see (.uk, .cn, .de). Personally, I even struggle with companies utilizing .info or .biz. Why? Because as we started to grasp the power of the internet in the 1990′s, there was always that one constant: a domain starting with www. and ending in .com.

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With today’s news, we’ll now have to get used to a world of domain suffixes by the thousands. As a web-literate consumer, I’ll certainly pick-up on this evolution rather quickly. However, for a large segment of the global population who already find the internet and computer technology in general to be a confusing place, this will only enhance their struggles. To combat this issue, companies will have to keep their .com’s for the stubborn or low-usage folk.  

There is, of course, a cost associated with this domain expansion. As Reuters continues, “Besides the $185,000 to apply, individuals or organizations will have to show a legitimate claim to the name they are buying.” Needless to say, don’t expect a www.software.rjs anytime soon!