On the Future Internet™, silly abbreviations like ".com" and ".edu" will cease to exist. Instead. megacorporations will take over with top-level domain names like ".xbox," .sony," or ".nabiscosnackwellsdietdevilsfoodcookies." The transition began this week, as The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) showed in its list of corporations applying for ultra-specific top-level domains.
The list has both the aforementioned Microsoft and Sony applications for .xbox and .playstation (respectively), as well as ones for ".live," ".bing," ".skype," and ".windows," while Sony applied for ".sony," and ".xperia." Microsoft put up $2.035 million for its 11 name bids, and Sony put up $555K, according to New Statesman
Bidding for personalized (er ... company-ized) URL abbreviations costs a minimum of $185K (just for "evaluation"), so those diabolical plans to squat on ".sexytimes" might be more expensive than you planned. Additionally, when multiple bidders are involved, ICANN assesses the applicants based on a variety of criteria, and applicants can object against others' claims to a particular top-level domain. Regardless, it'll be another 9 to 20 months before ICANN's evaluation process completes, so it'll be a little bit before we find out how this all plays out.
[Image credit: Pavel Ignatov