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Companies can start registering dot-Vegas domains; new names add variety to dot-com heavy Web

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Companies bored with a dot-com or dot-net Web address can now spice things up with a dot-Vegas suffix.

Las Vegas-based firm Dot Vegas Inc. is opening up registration Monday for the new domains, which offer registrants a chance at a shorter, more descriptive URL they might not be able to find in the crowded world of more than 100 million dot-com domains.

"I think most of the good terms, most of the obvious terms have already been taken," Dot Vegas CEO Jim Trevino said about addresses with the more common suffixes. "That's part of the dilemma that everyone faces."

Entities registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse have first dibs on dot-Vegas domains. High-demand names will be up for auction starting Aug. 14, and addresses will be available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis starting Sept. 15.

The names are part of a new wave of "top-level domains." The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit that co-ordinates the Internet's domain system, is in the process of rolling out hundreds of new ones, including dot-college, dot-dating, and dot-beer. Some use Chinese characters or the Cyrillic alphabet.

"They saw that it would be good to break the Internet into hundreds of smaller domains so it's more personalized," Trevino said.

The new domains will also "inject some context" into URLs, according to Jothan Frakes, co-founder of the domain industry conference NamesCon. The addresses will help direct users to relevant sites in the same way dot-gov names guide them to official government sites.

Unlike top-level domain names for other cities, such as dot-NYC, organizations don't need to be connected to Las Vegas to use the term in their Web address. Trevino said he could envision local businesses buying up names such as shows.Vegas or restaurants.Vegas, but said any company that wants to identify with the Las Vegas ethos might also be interested.

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