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Big change on horizon for internet domain names

As any business is well aware, the internet is very important to its survival. 20 years ago, a business could have gotten away with a word-of-mouth strategy or some simple advertisements on television. Today, though, the world of business relies on the internet for fulfillment and advertising. The internet is a crucial component to a company's success -- and you can either possibly fail trying to fight it, or possibly succeed using it.

Most people think of the internet as a bunch of web addresses that end in .com, .edu and .gov. However, that reality is bound to change soon thanks to a new web address development -- and it has a direct impact on businesses, especially small businesses.

While the aforementioned domain names are three of the most recognized names on the web, there are actually 22 domain names, which are called generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). But the number of domain names is about to grow immensely, as 1,400 gTLDs will become available thanks to a move by the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). These gTLDs will include names such as .dating and .sports, potentially allowing websites to differentiate themselves and increase business competition.

However, there are some concerns with this major domain name release. The first is that "cybersquatting" may become a serious problem. "Cybersquatting" is the act of purchasing a domain name that another legitimate business may want, thus forcing that company to pay money to obtain "their website name."

This move may also cause smaller businesses to struggle, as they may not have the resources to deal with such a dramatic change to web culture.

Source: CNBC, "New Internet domains are coming, and small biz needs to be wary," Cadie Thompson, Feb. 9, 2014

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