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Nine names, 10 proposals

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Ten applications for new Top Level Domains (TLD) were published by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Number (ICANN) over the weekend with a special TLD to prevent spam and three new names to merge the phone and Internet worlds.

The names proposed are:
.tel (by two competing outfits)
.mobi
.travel
.post
.cat
.jobs
.asia
.xxx
.mail

ICANN will collect public comments on the applications in April and decide on which names will go forward to compete with existing .com, .info, .biz in the root zone, after an evaluation process in May.

UK based Telnames, one of the competing applicants for the .tel domain, promises "a unifying naming structure for Fixed/Mobile Convergence (FMC) that will provide seamless voice, data and value added services for both the wireless and fixed-line networks." Traditional telephone codes and numbers will remain critical for conventional needs, but they are "unable to migrate naturally to the new Internet-centric communications world," Telnames writes in its application.

US VoIP pioneer Pulver, the other applicant for .tel, takes a different tack. Instead of using names for mobile devices and VoIP-serivces it proposes to enter conventional phone numbers into the DNS. If this sounds familiar, yes it parallels the ENUM-activities under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union and might be a way to route around itts e.164.arpa domain.

Other proposals may be less controversial: a domain for the travel industry has been in the pipeline since 2000, too and sponsor "Tralliance" has worked with industry stakeholders to form a consortium. The Universal Post Union goes for .post to offer domains for post services in all countries. Sixty seven Catalan organisations are backing a TLD for the catalan linguistic community, .cat. US-based "Society for Human Resource Management ("SHRM"), the world's "largest association devoted to human resource management", is the sponsoring organisation of a .jobs TLD "for the benefit of the international human resource management community".

The .jobs proposal is backed by VeriSign as a registry provider, as is the mobile industry consortium .mobi. Afilias, its competitor is backing the first internationalised TLD, .asia; and the virtual red light district .xxx. More interesting is .mail, the proposal for a special anti-spam TLD. The concept is similar to sender authentication proposals (SPF, RMX, Caller ID etc) currently under discussion in the technical community and some big companies, only it uses a special namespace for storing the information about the mailserver of example.com under mailserver.com.mail.

Steve Linford, founder of Spamhaus.org, is named as the first board member of the Supporting Organisation for the Registry, the "Anti-Spam Community Registry".

All applications can be reviewed at the ICANN website. ®

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