The Vatican has come out in first place in a long-awaited draw to expand the Internet address system with new domain names that go beyond the usual .com, .org or .net endings, reports Reuters on Yahoo7.
ICANN, the corporation that oversees the Internet address system, announced this week the domain name .catholic written in Chinese characters will be the first bid it considers in a drive to expand and reorganize sites on the World Wide Web.
The same extension in Arabic letters ranked 25th in the random draw and the Vatican's application for a version in Cyrillic for Russian and other Slavic languages came in 96th.
Ranking high means the applicant could get approval early next year to operate the new domain and approve addresses using it. In the Vatican's case, Rome could then ensure only genuine Roman Catholic institutions get to use that domain name.
"This is a way to give a coherence and authentication to our presence in the digital arena," said Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
"Anyone looking online will recognize the site belongs to an institution that belongs to the Catholic Church," he said, adding the new, so-called top level domain names (|TLDs) could also help speed online searches.
For online retailers such as Amazon, whose application for .store in Japanese came in second, early approval could mean a competitive advantage and prompt a quick introduction of the new name.
But the Vatican did not enter the draw for commercial reasons and would not rush to launch its TLDs, Tighe said. In addition, the main TLD it seeks - .catholic in Latin letters - ended up in 1,366th place and may take months before it is approved.
FULL STORY Vatican takes first spot in Internet domain name draw (Yahoo7)