Internet authority ICANN has announced that it has entered into commercial and technical negotiations with the potential registrars of two new top level domains – .post and .travel.
If approved, the new domains may be made available for registration as soon as early 2005. Firstly, however, the new TLDs will be subject to a review process consisting of three panels of experts to measure the applications against criteria set by ICANN in terms of technical competence; business and financial sufficiency, etc.
.post is being proposed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) – a UN agency – and is intended as an "innovative standard identifier of the postal community in cyberspace." Like some other of the newer top level domains like .aero and .museum, .post is intended to be a restricted space available only to members of the specific industry it’s aimed at rather than general Internet users.
.travel is intended for use by "bona fide travel trade industry associations, organizations or entities." And as such will be promoted to travel agents, cruise companies and airlines and, again, will be restricted to members of the travel industry.
If approved, the level of enthusiasm for these new domains remains to be seen. Experience with domains that were released in 2001, such as .aero and .coop, shows that the Internet community has had mixed reactions to new TLDs, with only limited success in some spaces.
Ten new TLD applications, including .mobi and .xxx, were submitted to ICANN earlier this summer. The remaining eight applicants are currently still pending.