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65% of Brits say generic domains will clog the web

Majority oppose top-level domains such as .sex

Nearly two thirds of web users feel that by allowing some businesses to buy and operate a .anything domain, such as .sex and .god, the internet will become clogged with pointless domain names, says the Future Laboratory and Gandi.net.

ICANN announced in October last year that from 2012, any organisation with £185,000 (£115,000) and the ability to run a top-level domain name (TLDs) could apply for a generic domain, such as .london or .sex.

A new report compiled by the Future Laboratory and Gandi.net also revealed that consumers think that the proliferation of generic domain names will make the web spin out of control. The report highlighted .god as an example, saying there would be global uproar if a group of atheists or a single faction of a religion bought the TLD.

When it comes to governing the new-look internet, 18 percent of web users think ICANN should be responsible while the same number think website hosting companies should take control. Meanwhile 13 percent think it should be the UK government's responsibility and 12 percent think it's down to society in general. A further 84 percent said that having .sex as a TLD was not a good idea.

"Consumers and businesses alike are confused and worried. There is no clear sense of who is in charge at the moment, and who should be in charge going forward. As a result, the liberalisation of domain names, which is meant to encourage greater choice and diversity, is seen instead as being a daunting change to the internet," said Tom Savigar of the Future Laboratory.

Joe White, chief operating officer of Gandi.net, added: "The current plans for liberalisation reflect a great opportunity to get the domain space in order. ICANN now has the opportunity to set clear guidelines and enforce a higher standard of practice with new TLDs so they are not littered with spam and faulty extensions. This could be the beginning of the great clear-up of the future internet."

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