DNS: June 2008 Archives


June 29, 2008

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.