The Internet uses a Domain Name System (DNS) to refer users to websites. Many people have some familiarity with the term “dot com,” the domain name extension for most commercial businesses, but a wide variety of other domain name extensions exist. As of 2010, the largest number of top-level domain names exist in the .com, .org, and .net categories.
Generic top-level domain name extensions started in the 1980s. The first set of generic top-level domains consisted of .com, .edu, .gov, .net, .org, .int, and .mil. Anyone can register a domain name using .com, .org and .net, but the remaining top-level domains have restricted use. Since the introduction of the first seven top-level domains, thirteen new top-level domains now exist. The following seven domains started in 2001 and 2002—.biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop and .museum. The year 2003 saw the introduction of the remaining six—.asia, .cat, .jobs, .mobi, .tel and .travel.
Country Code Top-Level
Most countries have a top-level domain tied to a country specific code. For example, Japan websites have a domain name extension of .jp; France uses .fr and the United Kingdom uses .uk. According to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), country code managers administer the use of these country specific codes. Practically every country and territory has a country code top-level domain name assignment. Some of the less well-known extensions consist of .ac for the Ascension Islands, .bw for Botswana, .ci for Cote d’Ivoire and .pg for Papua New Guinea.
Sponsored Versus Unsponsored
Some of the top-level domains receive sponsorship from organizations or institutions. A sponsored top-level domain has a charter that defines the purpose of the domains creation and use. The current list of sponsored top-level domains include: .aero (air-transport industry), .asia (from Asia/for Asia), .cat (Catalan linguistics and cultural community), .coop (cooperatives), .edu (United States educational institutions), .gov, (U.S. government), .jobs (international human resource management community), .mil (U.S. military), .mobi (mobile content providers and users), .museum (museums), .tel (individuals and businesses to manage contact information in the DNS) and .travel (travel and tourism community).
New.net supplies top-level domain names but the user must use one of New.net’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or use a special browser decoding plug-in to reach the domain name. New.net provides domain names with extensions that include .sport, .shop, .school and .inc. The company also provides domain names in six languages (English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese and German). According to New.net, “New.net, Inc. maintains its own registry in a similar way that VeriSign maintains the registries for .COM, .NET, and .ORG.”
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