.Post approved as new top-level domain for postal organization Web sites

The group that manages the Internet's address system inked its first-ever agreement late last week with a U.N. agency to operate the newest top-level generic Internet address. Under the agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Switzerland-based Universal Postal Union will operate the .post Internet domain name. The UPU will be responsible for determining the rules under which postal organizations around the world can obtain the new .post Internet address.

The UPU said in a news release that .post would be used for developing e-commerce and facilitating international trade as well as to better link electronic addresses to physical postal addresses. For example, it could eventually allow a person to send an e-mail and have that message turned into a physical piece of mail that can be sent to a recipient who might not use e-mail, ICANN said. The UPU said it expects .post to be operational by mid-2010. UPU Director General Edouard Dayan said .post "will enable the UPU to reach the full potential of its original mission: to build a worldwide space without borders where personal and business communication is facilitated in a secure environment."

Meanwhile, ICANN also announced that it has signed an agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to assist in ICANN's efforts to adopt internationalized domain names, which are non-Latin based characters that can be used in Internet addresses. They are now being used on a limited basis in the top-level domain name portion of an Internet address such as for ".com," ICANN said.

"This agreement with UNESCO will assist the inclusion of as many language groups as possible and in the process it will help ICANN fulfill its mission of global inclusivity by expanding our wide arena of international stakeholders," ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said in a statement.