ICANN Globalizes the Web by Allowing Custom Internet Domain Extensions

Although already known as the World Wide Web, Internet has truly gone global now that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved a new Internationalized Domain Name Fast Track Process.

What does this mean?

You’ll be seeing internet addresses containing non-Latin and non-Western characters (Keep an eye out for Arabic or Chinese characters) in the Internet extension (Examples of Internet extensions include .com, .org and .cc).

Although IDNs have been around since before ICANN was developed, years of meticulous technical trial and error, development of global cooperation and policies were necessary in preparation for the launch of Fast Track Process (FTP).

In previous years, the U.S. reviewed applications for extensions. This new Agreement between ICANN and IDNFTP eliminates reviews from the U.S., broadening the group of stakeholders to a worldwide group performing reviews. After all, the Internet is not secluded to just the United States. It is an international resource managed and manipulated by its global users.

Forty years ago, the United States Department of Defense created the technology that brought us our modern day Internet, and the U.S. government kept a firm grip on ruling the way the Internet functioned. As the Internet spun into a World Wide Web, it became much more than a government tool, and the U.S. decided to share governance of the Internet to ICANN, a once little-known nonprofit group based in Marina del Rey, California.

The United States government will maintain its vital role in reviewing, but it will be one of many review teams of people from all over the world, no longer having direct authority over ICANN, as the agreement between ICANN & the U.S. Government expired in November.

There is constant debate amongst those who utilize Search Engine Optimization as to whether Internet extensions affect SEO strategies and search engine ranking. Some believe search engines have a preference for URL extensions ending with .com while others believe taking each page of a site and optimizing the URL is the only factor considered in web addresses.