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Web users about to get a lot more choices while surfing

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PHOENIX -

The way you use the internet is about to change dramatically. We're all used to just typing in a website and attaching a .com or a .org at the end of it.

There are really only a handful of options in the USA, but that's all going to change.

Pretty soon you'll have all kinds of choices. Not just a few -- but more than a thousand!

How about .restaurant? Or .movies? The landscape of the internet is expanding.

Most of only use a few of these domain extensions regularly. But pretty soon we could be looking at as many as 1,400 new ones online.

For example, a web address like myfoxphoenix.com could someday also be listed as myfoxphoenix.media or myfoxphoenix.studio. Some of the new extensions aren't that surprising -- others are a little more unusual.

"It depends on whether you're using internet for, if it's just for fun it's going to really expand your opportunities. For instance if you're doing a search on Google you're going to see results far beyond what you're used to," says Maria Speth, intellectual property attorney.

Hundreds of new domain extensions are about to launch on the internet. They're called generic top level domains or GTLDs. But we recognize them as the letters after the dot at the end of a web address.

An organization called the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers or "ICANN" for short regulates the internet. Last year it opened up the bidding process.

"The idea was to create more competition in the workplace and give more options to consumers," says Speth. ".shop. .book."

For an $185,000 fee, businesses or individuals could apply for their very own domain extension.

"There were 1,930 applications filed, there was a lot of overlap. There were 11 applications for .home. There were multiple applications for .app, I think that was one of the most popular ones. We don't know who's going to end up with that. They'll have a bidding war to figure out who's going to end up with it."

Maria Speth is an intellectual property attorney at Jaburg and Wilk, and she's on the board that helped shape the rules for this process.

"They're going to be categorized by industry so if I'm looking for restaurant if I'm looking for movies I might want to look for things ending in .movie."

Besides some of the more obvious registries, there were also some of the more unusual -- like .sucks, .goo, and .dad.

There were also applications for brand names, like .fedex, .apple, and .loreal.

"So normally I would think Loreal.com but now I might be looking for mascara.loreal for instance."

The possible combinations are endless. Speth says this could be a problem for small businesses.

"You have to think about how can that affect my brand name, what if someone grabs up my brand name and tries to use it with one of these new domain names."

Users say they already run into this problem now.

I think for the average user, the bottom line with a lot of this is that Google will see a lot more traffic because of all of the possible web address combinations that will soon be out there.

As for time frame on when we can start seeing these new extensions -- we're told some of them could launch later this year.

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