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ICANN Preparing for Mass Introduction of Top-Level Domains?

At the request of ICANN, Paul E. Black, a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed an algorithm that may guide applicants in proposing new Top-Level Domains (TLDs). As new TLDs are added to the familiar .com, .info, and .net, the algorithm checks whether the newly proposed name is confusingly similar to existing ones by looking for visual likenesses in its appearance. Having visually distinct TLDs may help avoid confusion in navigating the ever-expanding Internet and combat fraud, by reducing the potential to create malicious look-alikes: .C0M with a zero instead of .COM, for instance.

Also see NIST's special project page on Compute Visual Similarity of Top-Level Domains.

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