Icann, the body that governs the Internet, has voted unanimously to change the rules on top level domain names.
In future companies will be able to turn their brands into web addresses. Icann expects the new naming conventions to come into force next year, but the move will pose serious problems for the online industry.
Thomas Herbert, of hosting comany Hostway, said, “The relaxation of the domain name system opens up a world of possibility, but will need to be very carefully managed.
“The web today is both intuitive and structured, with domain names being carefully administered. If the domain name system is completely relaxed, cybersquatting will turn into a far greater problem, with companies struggling to protect their web sites and intellectual property.
Herbert also warned that the brand value that many companies have built up over the last decade on the web could be lost in a world of infinitely customisable domain names.
"The recommendations from ICANN will future proof the Internet," said Eamonn Doyle, managing director of Web filtering company Bloxx.
However, he warned both of a “a land grab for these additional top level domains,” and a significant challenge to security companies that use web filtering technologies to control organisations’ access to inappropriate web sites.
The domain name system began in 1985 with just a handful of generic top-level domains -- .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .net and .org - and two-letter country code top-level domains.
In 2001, those first domains were joined by .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum and .name -- and later by others including .asia, .jobs, .pro and .travel.