Oh good, more TLDs

| Comments (5) | DNS
ICANN has announced plans to expand the pool of TLDs:
"The potential here is huge. It represents a whole new way for people to express themselves on the Net," said Dr Twomey. "It's a massive increase in the 'real estate' of the Internet."

Presently, users have a limited range of 21 top level domains to choose from -- names that we are all familiar with like .com, .org, .info.

This proposal allows applicants for new names to self-select their domain name so that choices are most appropriate for their customers or potentially the most marketable. It is expected that applicants will apply for targeted community strings such as (the existing) .travel for the travel industry and .cat for the Catalan community (as well as generic strings like .brandname or .yournamehere). There are already interested consortiums wanting to establish city-based top level domain, like .nyc (for New York City), .berlin and .paris.

I'm having some trouble seeing the value of this proposal. As I've mentioned earlier, there has been remarkably little uptake of the non big 7 gTLDs, with .com being the elephant in the room. What reason is there to believe that .brandname is going to have any more uptake? So, it doesn't make much sense to say that this increases the "real estate" of the Internet.

Even if that weren't true, the structure of the DNS more or less negates the idea that creating more TLDs somehow creates more "real estate". One could easily create exactly the same amount of real estate by inventing a single new TLD, e.g., .tld which implements whatever policies you intended to promulgate for new TLDs. This would have essentially the same effect except that the names are a bit longer. Moreover, we effectively have all that real estate, since any existing DNS zone could instantiate exactly these policies: nothing in the DNS structure stops me from setting up tld.educatedguesswork.org.

That's not to say that this is necessarily a bad idea, but the arguments I've heard so far aren't very convincing.

5 Comments

The proliferation of TLDs is just a way of shaking down trademark owners for money. Many companies will pay to buy domains in the new TLDs even if they never plan on using them, rather than face the costs of litigation to reclaim a domain down the line. That was the theory, at least.

The main advantage of this proposal, as far as ICANN is concerned, is that they get to keep the $100K in application fees, rather than have to beg registrars for fees.

Bing, bing, bing. It's all about the $100K. Isn't that obvious?

the more TLDs, the greater the variety of look-alike
phishing domains that can be fast-flux-DNS-ed. yeah

that's only the flip-side of the coin from the loss
of generality that makes knowing a URL a matter of
memorizing only a single token and then prefixing
with www and affixing a .com or .org (in the U.S.)
based on your understanding of the company's busi-
ness/non-business slant. i guess they're trying to
shift the load off the .com servers back onto our
brains or something similarly dastardly

What's "not very convincing" about Fazal and Derrell's argument? It seems like a great funding source for ICANN.

More good domain names (short, descriptive, and memorable) for residents of our community. In 1995 when the good .coms were issued they were too young, just immigrated, or had not yet imagined the project for which they now seek domains. And each name provides identity for our New York City Community.

See http://www.openplans.org/projects/campaign-for.nyc/advantages-of-the-nyc-tld for more reasons we seek the .nyc TLD.

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