The move, which allows for addresses with endings like .pizza, .baseball, .hotel and .SanFrancisco instead of .com or .org is expected to create a stampede of applications for address changes and could end up in bidding wars among large businesses.
If several pizza chains apply for .pizza at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the regulator would auction off the domain address, CNNMoney.com reported Monday.
Board members for global Internet regulator ICANN, which is based in California, voted on the name-change at a meeting in Singapore. The changes are not expected to show up on the Internet until some time in 2012.
"The way things are now, technically anyone can buy a dot-com domain to imply a relationship with a brand," said Ben Crawford, chief executive officer at dotBrand Solutions, a consulting firm.
Even without a competitive auction, the process is pricey. The application form is $185,000 and requires considerable work to pull together because it can be up to 150 pages long.