ICANN enters negotiations on .mobi, .jobs domains

Two new top-level domain names moved closer to approval this week, as the body charged with overseeing the Internet's technical matters moved into negotiations with the companies applying to set up and run the ".mobi" and ".jobs" domains.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has begun commercial and technical negotiations with the applicant registries, bringing the number of domains in this second stage of evaluations to four, ICANN said Monday.

In October, the oversight body gave a preliminary go-ahead to the ".post" and ".travel" domains. Negotiations with those applicants are still under way, said ICANN.

The two latest candidates to reach this stage differ from the kind of industry-specific designation sought by .post and .travel, intended for the postal and travel communities, respectively.

Both .mobi and .jobs are intended to serve as auxiliary addresses where Internet users can find information separate from an organization's main Web site.

A site such as companyname.jobs would contain job listings and other employment information, for example, while companyname.mobi could contain stripped-down information and applications that would be easier to access from mobile devices.

.Mobi is sponsored by Microsoft, Nokia, and Vodafone Group Services, which hope to target the domain specifically at mobile content and service providers as well as mobile device manufacturers, vendors and individual companies.

In a domain proposal submitted to ICANN, the sponsors predicted a boom in mobile devices by 2006, requiring a host of new Internet services and content tailored to their use.

.Jobs is being sponsored by a company called Employ Media, which is targeting the human resource management community.

ICANN did not say this week when it expects to wrap up evaluations of the second-stage applicants, saying only that progress reports would follow. Ten applicants answered the group's call last year for new sponsored top level domains, and no limit was placed on the number that would be accepted.

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Scarlet Pruitt

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