By Shadi Bushra
LONDON (Reuters) - London will join a handful of cities launching their own internet domain names next year to build a greater online presence and promote the British capital, the mayor's office said on Friday.
ICANN, the world body that oversees the web's naming conventions, gave London the go-ahead this week to use its own unique domain name from 2014, along with New York, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels.
The city's mayor, Boris Johnson, said adopting the ".london" suffix would enable organizations to associate themselves more closely with London's global brand.
"This is also an excellent opportunity to expand London's digital presence, which in turn is set to generate funds to invest back into the city," he said in a statement.
ICANN's Vice President for Europe, Nigel Hickson, said that, in addition to country-specific domains such as ".uk", there are currently only 22 generic top-level domains, including the familiar ".com".
He said ICANN had received requests for broad domains such as ".music" or ".tree", as well as from companies seeking to use their names as a domain.
Hickson told Reuters he expected the number of domains to skyrocket, with as many as 1,000 new generic domains to be approved in the next year.
Hickson noted that it is not cheap to run an entity to register and sell domain names, but hoped the impact of expanding domain names would improve competition on the web.
(Reporting By Shadi Bushra; Editing by Kevin Liffey)