The confusing new domain name system

ICANN feels the need to create a lot more namespaces, which is imho a bad move. For example, in the new scheme, Google will own the .blog namespace. So if I wanted to protect my investment in Scripting News, which is a blog, I would have to buy scripting.blog.

  • That link won’t go anywhere today, but I wanted to illustrate what it means to have the scripting.blog name. It means that when you link to it on the web, the browser will open it, as if it were one of the current TLDs.
  • Interesting that Google’s browser, which I use, understands that when I go to scripting.blog I really want to go to scripting.com. It suggests that.
  • I rest my case. 🙂

As I understand it, I will be entitled to do this, during a period at the beginning of the life of the .blog TLD. In doing so I will be paying money to Google to fund their effort to become the authority what is and isn’t a blog, a company that hasn’t been entirely friendly to blogging. A bit like selling the henhouse to the fox. This process will be repeated for every new TLD. A huge windfall for ICANN and the owners of the new TLDs.

Of course I’m not going to pay anyone for this, so there may be lots of new scripting domains out on the web. Some new equilibrium will follow. Either people will learn that all these new TLDs are ghost towns, or there will be lots of new scripting sites. No matter what there will be confusion. Maybe a lot. For what? What will we get in return? I can see what ICANN gets, money. And the big companies that buy TLDs get to control huge swaths of the future Internet for what amounts to less than pocket change for them.

A better solution would be to get rid of the idea of TLDs altogether. Let anyone register any word. People who own .com domains would automatically become the owner of the word without the .com. I own a fair number of .org domains which will go away under that scheme.

The best solution is to leave it alone. It’s a bit confusing for sure, but it’s a confusion that the Internet grew up with. It’s background noise. But the kind of dissonance the new TLDs are guaranteed to introduce, suggest that shortly after their introduction they will have to be retracted. Might as well never go there. Kill the program before it creates a huge mess. That would be my best advice.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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