Virtual Land Rush
While everyone is waiting for prices to come down in the real estate market, which won't happen anyways, even the virtual land is up for sell. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is all set to allow domain names including any suffixes. So far there was a standard list of domain suffixes available, but with this new scheme, anyone can claim domain name ending with any string. Read more at the times article or directly from ICANN website.
Businesses would need to ensure they pick up right domain names, and now probably multiple such names to retain their internet identity and safeguard the customers. This could mean a lot of cash, which is really unnecessary, if all that I need to do is to redirect all such domains to my primary website.
What it means for end users? Nothing much if you are a simple web surfer. You would still be able to reach the required website as you would usually rely on the search engine to give you the right URL. However, you now would need to be weary of the scamsters who would want to steal your hard earned money by setting up similar looking websites but having fake identities and then manipulate the search engine results through various techniques. It would also mean the search engines need to get smarter to point the users to the right website and weed out the fake websites.
If one is interested in thinking how can he/she make money out of this, there's an opportunity for you as well. You can start registering domains which the existing companies would be willing to buy at a price. However, be ready to handle the trademark litigations, if you can't negotiate with the concerned companies :)