Some of the largest companies in the world, including Google, Ford, Samsung, Nike and Gucci, have moved to secure their brand names in anticipation of the most significant change to the internet since it was created.
On Jan 12, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began accepting applications for new "generic Top-Level Domain names"(gTLDs). This is the technical term for the extension at the end of a web address _ basically anything to the right of the dot, such as .com, .net, .de, or .gov.
Today there are only about two dozen generic Top-Level Domain names, but companies and organisations now have the opportunity to own their own "string", ranging from corporate (.google or .ford) to generic (.book, .fashion) or even the controversial (.religion, .xxx).
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