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ICANN and New TLDs

By hattig in News
Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 11:24:59 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

[editor's note, by rusty] Two excellent submissions on this topic have forced me to take the hitherto unprecedented step of merging them. So here is hattig's original submission, followed by a proposal from locutus074. Enjoy! :-)

A story on zdnet details the problems that ICANN is having with regards to the new top level domains it is going to introduce at some point in the future. These TLDs (such as .shop, .wap, .soft etc) are causing ICANN headaches over how to administer them - they are worried about the potential for all the new names to be gobbled up by quick-buck cybersquatters, amongst a plethora of other problems...

How would you implement such a system? There are lots of factors, including trademarks (many overlap, e.g., Linux the OS and Linux the detergent), corporate interests and personal interests. There is also the problem of how useful some of these TLDs will actually be, especially given how people are used to the existing system.

In the UK, the .plc.uk, .ltd.uk and .net.uk domains have to be vetted before being registered - this means that it is very hard to cybersquat in these domains, but the .co.uk and .org.uk names are still up for grabs by anyone. Should a similar system be used for these new TLDs (e.g., you have to prove that you are a retailer before you can own a domain with the .shop suffix), or should we give even more money to lawyers to sort out the problem?

There are also many other problems - for the personal domains (.psn or .fam) how do you arbitrate between claims? Is the first-come-first-served model appropriate for these types of domain? Why should one person get smith.fam, when there are several million people out there who have an equal right?

locutus074 adds:

The article was interesting, although it didn't go deeply enough into the issues for my taste. (Granted, this was a news item and not an opinion piece like this one.) This is certainly an issue that will affect all of us. However, the article failed to ask what I consider to be a fairly obvious question: What's to keep people from registering domains in other countries? Foreign companies register .com addresses all the time -- and Tonga seems to be a (semi-)popular country domain. (Example: http://surf.to/mysite/, http://click.to/somewhere/)

I've also seen ads advertising, "Register your .cc domain now!" But no matter what they do, .com will be (at least for the forseeable future) the holy grail for domain registrants, mostly due to a general public ignorance of the fact that there are TLDs other than dot-com. So nothing's going to really "change" if they only introduce new ones.

What's really needed, IMO, is a couple of ideas that they started to postulate in the article, but never really talked about at length. The way it's set up, the canonical meanings for the TLDs are .com for commercial organizations, .net for network operators/providers, and .org for "anything else", usually assumed to mean non-profit organizations. (.edu, .mil, and .gov don't really count as they're not available to the general public.) In practice, as you well know, it's a free-for-all; people register all three for just about any purpose they wish. http://www.harrybrowne2000.com/, for example, isn't really a traditional commercial organization (although one could argue that that's the most appropriate domain for a political campaign), and would be better served, perhaps, with a .org domain. (In all fairness, they do have the same .org domain which points to the same server; actually, they have no less than four different domains. Drop the '2000' for the other two.) Slashdot.org, on the other hand, is not an NPO (although it was the most appropriate TLD at the time); they now sell banner ads on their site and make money doing it (theoretically ;) ) and have been acquired twice. This type of dilemma would apply also to k5 when it gets big.

I personally like the idea that, for example, you'd be required to prove you're a merchant before you'd be able to acquire a .shop domain, for example. I'd also like to see a domain called, for example, .npo, for which you'd be required to prove that you're a non-profit organization. (In that case, the current .org would work rather well as it is, since it'd kinda resemble a .misc domain.)

As for a .per or .indv (for personal/individual sites), the site brought up the fact that these would be rather difficult to arbitrate, since several hundred thousand people, for instance, would all have equally valid claims to the smith.per or jones.per domains. The article brought up this problem, but didn't suggest a solution. (Which, again, is perfectly valid since it was a news article and not an op-ed piece.) One possible solution might be to register serveral hundred thousand of the most common names in a surname.per format, and let people register givenname.surname.per. This could still cause problems, though; the most famous Robert Smith, for example, is the lead singer of The Cure, but there are thousands of other Robert Smiths in the United States alone.

Only time will tell how these issues will sort out, but I suspect it will be a combination of convention, and unfortunately, legislation and litigation.


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ICANN and New TLDs | 18 comments (18 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
yes... This is really a problem. ... (2.00 / 1) (#2)
by neonman on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 10:06:51 AM EST

neonman voted 1 on this story.

yes... This is really a problem. I myself could not grab the domain stufflikethat.com that I wanted for some business projects because of cybersquating domain speculators. Internet startups are having to choose their names based on the domains availible. I don't mind if someone wants to use their domain, but some don't even have working nameservers. I recognize that some people may not use their domains for http servers, but it is usually quite clear when a domain is being held for speculative purposes.
Aaron Grogan

There's a simple solution to this p... (4.50 / 2) (#1)
by henrik on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 10:20:11 AM EST

henrik voted 1 on this story.

There's a simple solution to this problem :) Just allow companies and people *one* domainname per topdomain. It would enforce domain use the way they it's meant to be (ie, product.company.com instead of product.com). It solves the cybersquatting problem without beeing overly restrictive... Who needs more than one domain anyway? :)

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!

Rusty gets it. (none / 0) (#15)
by locutus074 on Sat Mar 11, 2000 at 07:12:55 AM EST

Unlike another site, which is using somethingorotherdot.org ;) for the discussion boards and somethingorothercode.com for the code, Rusty's using (www.)kuro5hin.org and scoop.kuro5hin.org. Congratulations on being a vistionary! ;)

BTW, sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes when I submitted my part of this article. :( I didn't mean for it to be taken the wrong way. Fortunately, I haven't seen any major flames yet. ;)
"If you haven't gotten where you're going,
you aren't there yet." --George Carlin
[ Parent ]

Interesting article. It mentioned,... (2.00 / 1) (#3)
by locutus074 on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 10:32:13 AM EST

locutus074 voted 1 on this story.

Interesting article. It mentioned, though, that there are seven TLDs, but what is the seventh? I can count six: .com, .net, .org, .mil, .edu, and .gov. Is the seventh they are referring to the country-level TLDs?
"If you haven't gotten where you're going,
you aren't there yet." --George Carlin

Seventh TLD (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by rusty on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 11:50:13 AM EST


Oh crap. Now they'll have to kill me. ;-)

Seriously, though, I don't know what they're talking about either. Maybe someone just miscounted...

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

.int (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by neonman on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 01:20:52 PM EST

some organizations are given .INTs as well, such as nato.int
Aaron Grogan
[ Parent ]
Re: ICANN and New TLDs (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by hattig on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 11:30:58 AM EST

Here is what I wrote to locutus074's submission when I voted for it:

Is there a way to incorporate it in the other submission - that would be more useful - to bundle everything together.

I agree about the .per problem - there is no real solution - or is there?

john.smith.per.ny.us allows more john smiths, at the expense of readability and usability. Still, who wants to be john784.smith.ny.us? Better than john3882773.smith.per though, or 784.ny.us.john.smith.per!

Maybe it isn't worth having these .per, .indv etc TLDs. This makes sense really - most people don't need their own domain name in this area, and people get accounts like johnsmith.demon.co.uk or whatever.

For the .shop TLD, who do you give book.shop to? amazon? B&N? FatBrain? Penguin? The domain is great - easy to remember (http://book.shop/) and worth several million at the very least. If no-one is allowed to buy generic domains in these new areas unless they are directly related to the company name, then why have the TLD? http://amazon.book.shop/ and http://bol.book.shop/ is a good compromise, but people will find other areas to skirt around the problems!

Re: ICANN and New TLDs (none / 0) (#5)
by rusty on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 11:40:39 AM EST

Sorry about the loss of that comment. I'm glad you recovered it. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: ICANN and New TLDs (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by hattig on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 12:04:25 PM EST

Let me flesh me comment out a bit now:

For amazon, a large, multi-product company that sells stuff and also has auctions and probably even more:

amazon.com - existing site amazon.shop - main domain name
amazon.book.shop - amazon book store
amazon.car.shop - amazon car store
amazon.bet - amazon betting service
amazon.auction - amazon auction site
amazon.music.shop - amazon music store
amazon.music - amazon music store

This seems a bit overkill when you look at it! What is wrong with:

www.amazon.com - main site

The only use for the new TLDs is to create places such as car.shop, book.shop, betting.shop, xxx.shop and whatever. Mainstream companies would want these to themselves, not a third level domain. The other use is that places like book.shop become some kind of comparison site, comparing book prices between all online book sellers so you get the best deal. Yeah, right!

[ Parent ]

Re: ICANN and New TLDs (none / 0) (#16)
by locutus074 on Sat Mar 11, 2000 at 07:23:04 AM EST

I think it'd be great for generic terms to be sort of a Pricewatch for that product. As it is, for example, books.com and book.com both redirect to barnesandnoble.com (those were two that I checked, but they probably have others). So even if it was like the way it is today, not a whole lot would change (they tell you to go to bn.com and not books.com, although you wind up at the same place anyway).

Heh, the first way you started talking about kinda reminds me of Usenet. :)
shop.amazon.cars, shop.amazon.books :)

But yes, I think that getting a new domain for each new product (I guess I'll pick on the Dilberito, even though it was that company's first product) can be quite a Bad Thing.
"If you haven't gotten where you're going,
you aren't there yet." --George Carlin
[ Parent ]

Re: ICANN and New TLDs (none / 0) (#11)
by bobsquatch on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 01:14:13 PM EST

Maybe it isn't worth having these .per, .indv etc TLDs. This makes sense really - most people don't need their own domain name in this area, and people get accounts like johnsmith.demon.co.uk or whatever.

So on the new internet, companies get their own name, but people have to be named relative to the company they belong to? That scheme is just a wee bit too close to corporate serfdom for my comfort.

"Hi there, my name is Bob of Netcom. Glad to meet you, Jane of AOL. Biff of Excite@home really knows how to throw a party, eh?"

It's one thing to have an email address of bob@exodus.com. It's entirely another thing to be told that the High Registrars will have my ass if I register bobsquatch.org instead of bobsquatch.exodus.com -- especially if there's no such restriction on bobsquatch.com, Makers of Fine Bobsquatchy (TM) Products.

[ Parent ]

kuro5hin.[org|com|net] FYI (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by rusty on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 11:55:09 AM EST

I actually own kuro5hin.com and .net as well. So when I get huge and greedy and start selling books and pottery and whatnot, I'll just transition to kuro5hin.com. Don't worry, before that happens I'll let you all know what the domain of the new *cool* site is, so we can go hang out there, and leave kuro5hin to be the big popular cash cow for the newbies. I'll put up a big notice, in .epl format (MIME-type: x-unreadable-sellout) that says "We've made kuro5hin even better!" That'll be your cue. ;-)

Not the real rusty
K5 (none / 0) (#10)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 12:43:39 PM EST

I noticed one or two people on this site calling it k5, and a quick check the other day showed that all the k5 top domains had been snapped up only a few days previously (or at least, that was when their records were last modified, so its a good enough guess). oh well...

[ Parent ]

Re: K5 (none / 0) (#13)
by rusty on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 01:32:16 PM EST

That is kind of odd. Although k5.org has been registered since Oct. 99, neither of .com or .net appear to be domain squatters. One's in Spanish (k5.net), and claims to be a (babelfish translation): "deprived list of mail, only for directors and journalists of written mass media and audio-visual, as well as for nonjournalists who habitually write in average forms. "

And k5.com redirects you to some phone plan. Weird.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: ICANN and New TLDs (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by analog on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 12:00:27 PM EST

I saw an interview with Tim Berners-Lee a few months ago wherein he mentioned that URL's were never supposed to be visible to the end user. He didn't follow this up, and I'm not terribly clued in on the history of web infrastructure (although I know he has stated several times that he specifically tried to avoid the web being a keyword based system; it seems he recognized the problems that would cause). Anyone have more info?

Perhaps the solution to this seemingly intractable problem is to go back to the drawing board and make the web work the way it was originally meant to.

Re: ICANN and New TLDs (none / 0) (#14)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Mar 11, 2000 at 12:17:06 AM EST

Instead of building the web 'the way it was meant to be', try contributing to this WORTHY endeavour:


This is the future of 'no censorship' and freedom babee.

From the page:

What is Freenet?

The Freenet project aims to create an information publication system similar to the World Wide Web (but with several major advantages over it--see next section). Information can be inserted into the system and associated with a "key" (the key is normally some form of description of the data such as "freenet source code V1.0"). Later anyone else can retrieve the data using the appropriate key. In this respect it is a little like the World Wide Web which requires a "URL" to retrieve a particular document.

[ Parent ]
FREENET (none / 0) (#17)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Mar 11, 2000 at 12:01:06 PM EST

FREENET - THIS IS IT! It is the simplest direct and fundamental road to privacy and freedom of speech. Specifically -- a technology whose foremost goal is to protect the rights of the individual. Please join the effort and tell your friends about it! By the way, the ./ people rejected a story about freenet (appearin in 'Wired'). I wonder whether they are allready too much 'part of the establishment' and therefore would not lend a hand for freedom...

[ Parent ]
Re: FREENET (none / 0) (#18)
by rusty on Sat Mar 11, 2000 at 01:37:05 PM EST

Psst-- we ran the freenet story already: Freenet: an Anonymous Distributed Network. This discussion would be much more suitably attached to that story.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
ICANN and New TLDs | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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