A New Digital Land Grab Has Begun—But Only If You Have An Arabic, Russian, Or Chinese Dictionary

Leo Mirani | Quartz | October 24, 2013

“Today marks an historic moment, not only for the New gTLD Program, but for the Internet as a whole,” wrote Akram Atallah of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in a blog post last night. ICANN is a body that oversees the domain naming system that enables navigation around the web—it’s how computers know where to go when you type in qz.com.

ICANN is not an organisation given to hyperbole. But Atallah is right to be excited: yesterday, four new generic top level domains (gTLDs)—like the .com in qz.com—went live, substantially expanding the number of available web addresses. This is only the beginning—another 1,400 proposals are waiting in the wings. If ICANN eventually approves even half of them, the web will grow vastly.

Squatters, start your browsers

Until yesterday, there were only 22 gTLDs, all in the Roman script. Now there are 26, and .website, .fish, .discount and .lawyer are also on their way. The four new domains are .онлайн and .сайт (Russian for “online” and “site”), .شبكة (Arabic for “web”) and .游戏 (Chinese for “game”). [...]