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NTIA to sell admin rights to .us domain
July 23, 2001 6:06 AM   Subscribe

NTIA to sell admin rights to .us domain Flying mostly under the radar of the mass media, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is getting ready to sell off admin rights to the .us domain, which has largely been the province of state and local governments and their various departments. Libraries, schools, etc. argue that the namespace is a "public trust" and should not be turned over to the highest bidder for commercial interests.
posted by briank (8 comments total)

 
I'm normally protective of what I consider to be pulic lands or trusts, but I'm not sure about this one. I think .gov and .edu pretty much provides the non-profits with what they need, and the .us should be unleashed.

And if a small kickback to the federal government could be arranged, it might help fund some other public resources.
posted by brucec at 6:47 AM on July 23, 2001


My understanding of .gov is that it's generally reserved for the federal government. States and municipalities usually have domains like state.ma.us or ci.boston.ma.us.

Similarly, .edu applies to colleges and universities, not schools, which are usually subdomains of their municipalities. Some libraries fall under .org, but again, not if they are run by the city or town where they are located.
posted by briank at 6:54 AM on July 23, 2001


I think this is a mistake. The .us should be designated for the municipalities. The only exception I could see I would want to support is if someone wanted to sell of .co.us which could be a commercial company in the US. But this is just going to cause confusion.

EDU is soley for higher education, and only certain higher education. (ie. I think most 2 year schools don't get .edu) .org is a confusing mess that is open game.
posted by benjh at 6:59 AM on July 23, 2001


toys.r.us!
posted by dagny at 7:09 AM on July 23, 2001


> I think .gov and .edu pretty much provides the non-
> profits with what they need

Only the big nonprofits. What about the other things the .us domain was created for? Local clubs and enthusiast groups that aren't big enough to be nonprofit orgs? Educational institutions that don't fit in .edu (such non-four-year colleges, technical schools, and *.k12.us?) Smaller government entities that don't fit into .gov (such as townships, counties, agencies?) Individuals? (I'm not an org, I'm not a net, and I'd rather be trailer trash than a dotcom.)

Read Jon Postel's original US Domain RFC here.
posted by jfuller at 7:15 AM on July 23, 2001


Its not being used for many of the purposes cited now..

If there is some public benefit here, this is not a piece of Federal Land or other public entity of which there is a limited quanity. Town names do not tend to be the same as useful commercial names, unless your town happens to be Dentists, Pennsylvania, or something like that. Why can't the Federal Government get a cool kickback renting out Lawyers.us to some firm?

Anyone can go register an org, but maybe not the org they want. My local high school is bergenfield.org, and they got that pretty late in the game (2000).
posted by brucec at 7:31 AM on July 23, 2001


ICANNWatch has much more information about this particular subject.
posted by briank at 11:15 AM on July 23, 2001


I loved the registrar mouthpiece who said it "wasn't time" to talk about this, since it hadn't happened yet. Unbelievable.

I'm ambivalent. I think .us ought to have fulfilled its original vision, but a lot fo the entities for whom it was intended don't use the "standard" .us address that they could take. There are some half-assed standards, like legis.state.xx.us, but they're not something you can rely on. And cities and counties have standard addresses that are too complicated and thus avoided. Right around here there are city and county entities that randomly use .org, .com and .net addresses.

This wasn't only due to laziness (or cluelessness) on the part of these entities -- it's also due to the widely distributed registration process for the TLD. There's a registrar just for .chi.il.us, for example, and he may have different policies (or responsiveness) than .nyc.ny.us, and some registrars simply seem to disappear from time to time. So it was badly managed over the last several years. Any salvage proposal is too little, too late.

I guess what I want to see from the proposals would be a similar setup to other country TLDs, say domain.com.us (.co.us is reserved for Colorado). What's probably going to happen is the proposal will list several such second-level hierarchies that will be "open for business". That would still leave the geographic hierarchies available for the existing public entity use. But given the caginess of that PR gal, I don't have confidence this reservation can be depended on.

(My domain outlook is mostly pragmatism, tinged with a hacker's sense of order, rather than based on entitlement. For instance, I'd gladly give up my .org if that TLD were to be reserved for registered non-profits.)
posted by dhartung at 11:15 AM on July 23, 2001


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