ICANN, the international organisation in charge of domain names has begun selling new domain suffixes, potentially allowing for a wide variety of URL end tags like .web, .porn, .coke etc.
The interesting part is that companies aren't just bidding to get their own website with a funky domain, but in-fact to become domain registrars in their own right. This will allow them to sell on web addresses with differing .tags to whoever wants them. However, potential buyers will need to prove that they not only have the £120,000 to buy exclusivity, but that they also have the resources to run a domain registry service.
So far there hasn't been any big firm announcing its involvement, though there have been 280 applications. New buy attempts can be made for the next three months, with the outcome of any applications to be announced some time in 2012. If more than one company wants a certain suffix, there could be an auction. It seems likely that companies like Coca Cola and PepsiCo will be attempting to out do one another to get hold of the .coke or .cola domains.
As well as freeing up a lot of addresses for people to get more creative, one of the key reasons for offering these new URL endings is to create an air of legitimacy to certain websites. The Telegraph cites an example of the bank HSBC buying the .hsbc suffix. This would allow it to direct its users to the official .hsbc website, stating that anything other than one using this end tag is a phishing or scam attempt.