Soon the internet will be awash with nearly 2,000 new top-level domains (TLDs), those short suffixes at the end of a web address — like the ubiquitous .com — that indicate the kind of site it's pointing to. The influx is the result of the new land grab for a corner of the web's millions of URLs, whether that's sites that end with .book, .catholic, or .horse. But it wasn't so long ago there were fewer than 10 TLDs, says Craig Partridge, one of the young scientists who helped decide how to categorize the handful of sites on the nascent internet, in a recent Washington Post report. Interestingly, the web's most common TLD was almost named .cor for “corporate,” until a series of casual memos and hallway conversations finally produced the original list, including .edu, .org, and .net.

With the term "dot-com" to denote internet businesses having already become an anachronism and the first new TLDs going into use as early as September, the landscape of the internet is set for a big change. Brad White from ICANN, the organization that oversees its naming conventions, puts it this way: "People are going to sit down at their browsers and see a whole new world."