ICANN, the body which oversees website address naming, today approved a proposal to allow those applying for domain names to self-select top-level domains. Currently there are only 21 top-level domains including common ones such as .com and .org. This new development will open up domain naming. According to the ICANN press release:
This proposal allows applicants for new names to self-select their domain name so that choices are most appropriate for their customers or potentially the most marketable. It is expected that applicants will apply for targeted community strings such as (the existing) .travel for the travel industry and .cat for the Catalan community (as well as generic strings like .brandname or .yournamehere). There are already interested consortiums wanting to establish city-based top level domain, like .nyc (for New York City), .berlin and .paris.
The implementation plan must still be finalized and approved by the ICANN Board before this is launched. It is expected that the final implementation plan will be published in early 2009.
Hat tip to Chris24 for being the first to spot the press release.
[Post corrected: .ca is not a top-level domain.]