At their 41st international conference in Singapore, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that they would move to dramatically expand the number of generic top-level domains (gTLD) for use as web addresses. While some of these would be truly generic, similar to the existing .com or .info, ICANN said that companies could soon pay for their own custom domain names.
There are currently 22 gTLDs available for use, but the new expansion will lead to many, many more. Until now, new gTLDs were handed out sparingly. The .xxx domain, for instance, was in the works for years. But from January 12, 2012 to April 12, companies and individuals can petition ICANN for their own so-called ".brand." Despite it being an open petitioning process, applicants will still face tough obstacles. Not the least of which will be a $185,0000 application fee and $25,000 per-year to maintain the registry.