Continued from page 1

ICANN said it has set aside up to $2 million to assist applicants from developing countries.

“The board’s very enthusiastic about providing support for applicants from developing areas where the evaluation fee or access to technical expertise might be somewhat of a bar,” ICANN senior vice president Kurt Pritz told reporters after the meeting.

ICANN said in a statement that it will mount a global publicity campaign to raise awareness of the opportunities of new domain names.

Any company, organization or individual can bid for a new suffix _ but it will be costly. In addition to the application fee, winners must pay $25,000 annually.

ICANN has said its costs to craft the guidelines, review applications and resolve any disputes are in the tens of millions of dollars. The fees also would fund ICANN’s regular operations, which include coordinating Internet address administration among companies, governments and other parties around the world.

ICANN was formed in 1998 as a way to get the U.S. government out of administrating Internet addresses. The U.S. had been in charge because it funded much of the Internet’s early development. Although ICANN got its authority from the U.S. government, the organization today has board members from every continent but Antarctica.


Associated Press writer Heather Tan in Singapore contributed to this story.