Icann is describing the new suffixes as "the next big thing" IBTimes

From January 12 websites will be able to purchase almost any domain suffix they like for their web address; meaning that domains like www.drink.pepsi or www.drive.ferrari could be made available.

Until now, it was only possible to use domain suffixes such as .com and .org or a country specific suffix like .co.uk or .fr, but now almost any word can be used as a suffix, marking the biggest change in domain name for over two decades.

Companies will be able to buy suffixes for their brand name or a word associated with the brand, but custom domain suffixes aren't for the casual blogger, as prices start at $185,000 (£120,000) - and that's just to apply.

The sale of thousands of new domain suffixes could lead to confusion if squatters manage to purchase suffixes similar to real companies. For example, .Amazom could be used to trick shoppers into spending money on a fake Amazon website, but the high cost will hopefully put most fraudsters off.

Icann - the body that regulates domain names - says the change to suffixes increases choice and completion. Former chairman of Icann, Peter Dengate Thrush, told the BBC that the current system is "badly in need of an overhaul. No one would design a domain name system now for several billion users just using a couple of names that we started the system with in 1985."

The deadline for applications closes in April and there has been "significant interest" in the new domain suffixes and it has been reported that around a quarter of the 100 or so applications received so far have been from Fortune 500 companies.

While using .london or .newyork could prove successful for cities to group companies, services and websites under one domain suffix, Dengate Thrush is worried that conflict could arise between places with the same name.

"I think there are about 20 or 30 other cities called Wellington," Dengate Thrush pointed out, but he believes that systems set up by Icann will ensure these issues can be negotiated.