The Internet is getting a makeover. Starting Thursday, the web will make a big step in moving way beyond dot-com, dot-net, and the like. For the first time since 2000, ICANN, the administrator of Internet addresses, will begin taking applications for a huge range of new top-level domain names. Now, companies large and small are racing to cash in on the transition, the Wall Street Journal reports. They're ready to pay the $185,000 application fee to become "registry holders" and control the letters to the right of the dot.
"I've dedicated the last 10 years to this," says one entrepreneur, who's seeking charge of "dot-shop" addresses, which he believes could eventually pose a threat to the stalwart dot-com. Others are hoping to snap up "dot-eco" to appeal to green companies or "dot-bank" for financial firms. But making a powerhouse out of a new suffix won't be easy, experts note. "You're going to have to have a widespread marketing campaign to build up consumer recognition," says one. Indeed, some companies have already spent millions on the process, and many such businesses are poised to fail, the Journal observes, noting that those who secure the domain names will also need to spend plenty of money on tech support.