The .asia regional Internet domain has officially opened for business. The domain comes after the launch of the European-based .eu name last
year and aims to join .com and .net as a widely used website suffix.
Businesses with trademarks, governments and official bodies will be allowed to register website addresses ending with the suffix initially. The general public will be allowed to bid from February, 2008. "More than 350 companies have already applied for the .asia domain including Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, Amazon, the Economist and T-Mobile," said Edmon Chung, ceo of DotAsia Organization, the Hong Kong-based, not-for-profit group that is setting up the new domain under the oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (icann) --the body that administers net addresses. "People in Asians constitute about 35 per cent of web users in the world. Our research shows that 'Asia' is one of the most searched for terms and by having .asia website, your ranking on Google or Yahoo will become much higher," he said.
Prices for website addresses can range from as little as us $10 to several hundred dollars, depending on their desirability, according to DotAsia representatives. Unlike other administrators of net domains, the .asia registry plans to use an auction to determine who gets an address wanted by more than one organization. The best proposal--with commitments to marketing--wins. Chung said.
icann will trial addresses written in Arabic, Persian, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Hebrew, Japanese and Tamil.
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