ICANN has been under pressure
June 26, 2008 10:21 PM   Subscribe

The popular online trading site eBay is one of the many companies that wants to have its own domain name.

PARIS (AFP) — Web regulators Thursday voted to allow the creation of thousands of new domain names top-level domains, from .paris to .Pepsi, in one of the biggest shake-ups in Internet history, a French web official said.
posted by finite (69 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
.pepsiblue
posted by crossoverman at 10:26 PM on June 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


thiswillnot.wendell
posted by carsonb at 10:26 PM on June 26, 2008


Interesting fact: DNS TLDs (.com, .edu, .org, .net, .uk, .tv, etc.) are all subdomains of the root domain which is represented as the null string, i.e., nothing. This is generally implied and neglected, but "metafilter" is a subdomain of "com" which is a subdomain of "" and so "http://www.metafilter.com./" should work in your browser - it does in my Firefox.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:33 PM on June 26, 2008 [12 favorites]


awesome@radical.cool
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:34 PM on June 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


In addition, ICANN is looking at ways of blocking certain domain names based on security or moral grounds

Super.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:35 PM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


they're talking about TLDs, not domains. Although I guess TLD stands for "top level domain", but still, just using the word "domain" to refer to a top level domain isn't that great.

Is this a good or bad idea? I'm not sure I see the problem, after all no one uses the other new domain names, everyone wants .com, and I suspect they still will.

Beyond that, I think simply being in the google search results for your own name is more important then a domain name.
posted by delmoi at 10:38 PM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


localization just got a bit weirder.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:38 PM on June 26, 2008


With the stock of available web addresses under the current IPv4 protocol set to run out by 2011, ICANN has been under pressure to find a solution for burgeoning demand.

In theory, an infinite number of new domain names could be born, which would prove a boon for ICANN because it would receive payment for each one.


Wow, someone didn't know what they were talking about...
posted by delmoi at 10:39 PM on June 26, 2008 [11 favorites]


With the stock of available web addresses under the current IPv4 protocol set to run out by 2011

what.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:45 PM on June 26, 2008


I call dibs on .sucks
posted by empath at 10:46 PM on June 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Unless I'm missing something, this is incredibly stupid.

Pretend your company is named Blippo, Inc., and so you want blippo.com, blippo.net and blippo.org. Each one can host an infinite number of subdomains, but they can only be owned by three people/organizations, or (in this case) just one, your company.

So then they make more subdomains available, and so you scoop up blippo.us, and some of the others that have been added; so these are all still owned by you.

But wait! NOW you can have .blippo! So you buy that too. But all you've done is added a single additional domain, no matter how many subdomains you might have. Effectively, you've done nothing more than removed the need to tack on .com to your existing domain.

Oh, sure, some people with fast fingers looking for equally fast bucks (or lawsuits) might snap up a .napautoparts or .mcdonalds or .blippo, but generally speaking it'll be a race between each owner of foo.com, foo.org and foo.net (assuming they're different) to get .foo, and that'll be that.

This decision, then, will add no more new domain names than adding a new .foo domain would, and people will be just as confused -- after all, if you don't find what you want at foo.com, foo.net or foo.org, do you ever bother to check foo.us? So why would you check foo?

Oh, wait, the fine print at the bottom of the article says that setting up each domain will involve significant costs. That's why they're doing it, to suck additional money from the companies that want to own yet another version of their domain, PLUS all the typo variations (blipppo, bippo, bilppo, etc), each at significantly more cost than we're used to.

can you tell I'm annoyed by this?
posted by davejay at 10:47 PM on June 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Beyond that, I think simply being in the google search results for your own name is more important then a domain name.

I think most people have this figured out, which is why ICANN needed a new gimmick to drive revenue.
posted by davejay at 10:50 PM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Too late, empath.
posted by enn at 10:50 PM on June 26, 2008


ICANNhas.cheezburger
posted by Bromius at 10:51 PM on June 26, 2008 [21 favorites]


Hilarious. I remember back in the 90's one of my elderly teachers at school was showing me his "new internet" that the school put in his classroom. He liked the netscape front page, but couldn't go anywhere else, because he was typing things like "www.com.internet.com" trying to "look for stuff" as he put it. I bet there was practically a pandemic of old folks with internet connections trying to look up "www.http.food.cake" -- and now, in 2008, they'll finally get their wish.

The internet is about to get a whole lot stupider, kids.
posted by Avenger at 10:52 PM on June 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Beyond that, I think simply being in the google search results for your own name is more important then a domain name.

Yeah, I think this is the key point. In Japan they've apparently don't even advertise with URLs anymore.
posted by danb at 10:54 PM on June 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Like George Carlin, I lament the loss of Upper Volta, ignominiously changed to Burkina Faso in 1984. The redeeming virtue of this change is the resulting Internet domain, which is .bf. This allows the possibility of a porn site dedicated to, erm, sodomy, whose address could be bf.bf...

Furthermore, I'm now praying to a graven image that ICANN will create a .tube domain.
posted by Tube at 10:58 PM on June 26, 2008


Industry experts expect the cost -- which has yet to be fixed -- could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.

What? I guess I'll have to spend hundreds of dollars on lawyer's fees...
-
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:01 PM on June 26, 2008


I just realised that I'm now going to have to explain this to my parents. I think I speak for everyone when I say god fucking damnit.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:01 PM on June 26, 2008 [27 favorites]


So, er, how do I sign up for one of these fun, newfangled doohickies?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:02 PM on June 26, 2008


money money money money money money money.
posted by tkolar at 11:03 PM on June 26, 2008


A man surfs the web at an internet cafe.
posted by avoision at 11:07 PM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think this won't be very successful. The nice thing about having a domain extension is that if you write "metafilter.com" somewhere people will immediately recognize that as a hostname. Now, thanks to ICANN, every word in this sentence could be a hostname. So if you want people to just go to "http://metafilter" you have to say "Type metafilter into your browser bar!" instead of just writing "metafilter.com" which everyone knows what to do with.

Futhermore, now everyone really has to use fully qualified domain names for everything; assuming a domain suffix will be unreliable and subject to the whims of people who might register random TLDs.

In conclusion, ICANN can go eat a bowl of fuck.
posted by aubilenon at 11:21 PM on June 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


Sheesh, this article was clueless. A few quotes:

In addition, ICANN is looking at ways of blocking certain domain names based on security or moral grounds, he said.

This isn't clueless, but it's a bit worrisome. You should be able to register any domain name you want. They shouldn't be arbiters of morality. All this stuff is very much opt-in; if www.horriblyoffensivename is registered, it's not like anyone's going to run into it accidentally.

With the stock of available web addresses under the current IPv4 protocol set to run out by 2011, ICANN has been under pressure to find a solution for burgeoning demand.

This is completely unrelated; DNS maps names to numbers, like a phonebook. They're complaining here that we're running out of phone numbers, which is an issue, but it's not related in any way, shape, or form to the phonebook.

In theory, an infinite number of new domain names could be born, which would prove a boon for ICANN because it would receive payment for each one.

But in reality advanced technical skills and deep pockets would be needed to set up a new name.


The first part's true, but the second part's silly. It's a little complex to host and run a domain, but the cost of hiring the expertise would be on the order of a few hundred bucks, not 'deep pockets'. And chances are pretty good that you'll be able to register the new names through the standard web registrars in very short order, so it shouldn't end up costing any more than a .com name would.

Fundamentally, it's just removing a level of indirection. Right now, the domain space is 'narrow', divided into .com, .net., and org. There's a "." at the end of all domain names that's normally not typed; this indicates the DNS root, which is handled by the root name servers. All the DNS servers in the world come preprogramed with the addresses of those root servers.

When you do a DNS lookup, if your server is starting from scratch, say after a fresh reboot, it traverses its way down the DNS name. For www.example.com, it first tries to determine where COM is; it asks the root servers for that. They say that COM is wherever the COM servers are. Then your local DNS asks the COM servers where the example servers are. Then it asks the example servers for the www.example.com address. (In subsequent lookups, some or all of these answers are cached locally, so you don't have to bang on the root servers eighty thousand times a day.)

So, basically, those root servers are entirely superfluous. Hundreds of millions of times each and every day, they give out the exact same three answers, where the COM, NET, and ORG machines are. (ok, well, and the two-letter country codes too.) That's silly. There's no need for this partitioning. The root servers are running the same software that the COM servers are. Instead of looking up com, and then example.com, talking to two separate servers, why not just find out where the example servers are in one step?

This means that the root servers will take more of a load, but it's a well-understood problem, and they can easily scale their machines to cope. The root servers will, probably, gradually take over for the COM, NET, and ORG machines. Instead of deferring to them for all name resolution, they'll slowly take over most of their duties.

COM, NET, and ORG were a strange idea. There's just no reason to limit DNS names that way. They really shouldn't have existed in the first place. Machines were slow when DNS was first invented, so perhaps they felt the tripartite separation was important for performance reasons, but things are very different nowadays.

This will, of course, set off a new domain gold rush, and will make ICANN many hundreds of millions of dollars..... but in all honesty, there was no reason for the scarcity. This should have been done long ago.

The other drawback is that it's going to be easier for fraud and swindles to happen for awhile. Because we took so long to move, instead of starting there to begin with, there's a ton of money involved, and the scammers will have a field day. It'll be hard to determine if www.caterpillar is actually Caterpillar Tractor, or if it's some fly by night outfit trying to extract your hard-earned cash. Because of this, I suspect that many companies may stick in the .COM space for some time to come. Names in .COM will automatically be more legit than others. simply because most of the obvious and easy scams have already been shut down, and most legit companies have already established a web presence.

You can count on the .COM registrars to push that idea... that .COM servers are safer. It'll even be true, for awhile.

You might see domain hosts arise that guarantee some amount of credibility for names hosted in their systems. ".TM" comes to mind as a possible example; the owners of .TM could guarantee that anything in their system had a trademark. You'd know that www.caterpillar.tm was a real company with a real registration. Because trademarks only apply in one field, it might not be the RIGHT Caterpillar (could be Caterpillar Fashions, say), but you would have no chance of being misled.
posted by Malor at 11:23 PM on June 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


"...can go eat a bowl of fuck."

That's goin' on a t-shirt.
posted by eclectist at 11:30 PM on June 26, 2008


ICANN tends to come up with something totally insipid every time they meet, but they've really outdone themselves this time!
posted by blasdelf at 11:30 PM on June 26, 2008


This would have been awesome in the late '90s, if only for the potential fun to be had with an .atemyballs domain.
posted by the_bone at 11:32 PM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


In conclusion, ICANN can go eat a bowl of fuck.

I think you mean "a bowl of .fuck"
posted by Rock Steady at 12:08 AM on June 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Where the fuck is the money going? Tens of thousands of dollars? This is the fucking internet, it shouldn't cost more than 10 bucks.
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:08 AM on June 27, 2008


ICANN has Cheeseburger?
posted by longsleeves at 12:10 AM on June 27, 2008


.localhost
posted by robot at 12:15 AM on June 27, 2008 [9 favorites]


The biggest problem with removing the regional domains is one you actually touch on; the way ICANN is setting this up is that only one company in the whole world can own www.caterpiller and all other *.caterpiller domains. This is the exact same problem caterpiller.com and caterpiller.net has; trademark confusion on a global scale.

Tradmarks are inherently local, and different companies within different disciplines or different places can have the same trademark. Which one gets the domain? Invariably, the dispute system gives it to the US company with the biggest wallet, thus screwing over all other caterpiller companies for the life of the DNS system.

What they COULD have done is make it so that all holders of a caterpiller trademark could get a subdomain within the caterpiller TLD. Instead they went for the simplest system to drive traffic to the root servers, making ICANN more important, and also to make themselves a buttload of cash in the process*, while screwing over future businesses bigtime. What about all the Smith's in the world. Is it fair that just one gets .smith? Or more likely, a domain squatter gets there first and whoever's got the biggest wallet at this particular moment of time gets .smith for all time?

If this had been done from the beginning, it might make some sense. Now it's the equivalent of ANWR drilling - short term financial gain for long term damage to the use of the DNS system.


*I saw an earlier story on the BBC that claimed the registrations would cost a 'substantial amount' i.e. thousands of dollars. Not because it'll cost that much to implement, but to give ICANN a big healthy profit, by effectively becoming a registrar for TLD's.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:25 AM on June 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


ICANN : Nice brand you've got here, be a shame if something "happened to it"
posted by fullerine at 1:43 AM on June 27, 2008 [7 favorites]


ceci nes't pas une internet
posted by telstar at 1:52 AM on June 27, 2008


.
posted by Poolio at 1:57 AM on June 27, 2008


In conclusion, ICANN can go eat a a bowl of fuck bag of dicks.
posted by Poolio at 2:12 AM on June 27, 2008


ask.meta.filter
posted by netbros at 2:21 AM on June 27, 2008


bowloffuck.eat
posted by fire&wings at 2:23 AM on June 27, 2008


A couple of pieces I saw peg the price at £50,000!

I think there will be a flurry of nonsense names, but I'd really like to see someone set up .web or similar, to compete with .com, but with rules: no spam sites, no dead sites, no mother fucking What You Need When You Need It and so on. .com done right, essentially.
posted by bonaldi at 3:00 AM on June 27, 2008


i've always found it interesting that the typical naming convention for domains has the effect of "normalizing" anything located in the US, and largely using regional designations for everything else... ie: cnn.com vs skysports.co.uk, harvard.edu vs oxford.ac.uk, etc...
posted by modernnomad at 3:01 AM on June 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Don't worry Avenger and jimmythefish. Us old folks find everything we need here, and don't need your lame "internets."
posted by nax at 3:22 AM on June 27, 2008


This is a terrible idea, so I'm sure it will go forward.

TheOnlyCoolTim, you're right about the root domain, except in Microsoft's weird little world. One of the many failures of Active Directory.

davejay, if you really go around registering any possible instance of "your" name, you're an ass. I'm glad you're annoyed.

aubilenon, you realize you could just use hyperlinks the way normal people do? Metafilter even has a link button. Assuming a domain suffix was always unreliable (lots of people have different things in their resolv.conf) and pointless (because very little searches .com by default, which I assume is what you meant).

Malor, I'm always very impressed by your comments, so I'll forgive the ineptitude in the one you just posted. The domain space is not divided merely into com, net, and org, but also gov, edu, mil, and 1 for every ISO country code (us, uk, ca, ...).

The root name servers are not pointless. Furthermore, the TLDs are looked up only once after the system is booted (or once the TTL expires). Furthermore, they are cached by the many intermediate ISP and corporate name servers.

Flattening the namespace is boneheaded. It's not partitioned for performance but for semantics.

.com is not "safer" nor "more legit". I don't even know how you envision your TM domain to work. Exactly who would get jurisdiction on that one?

modernnomad, the US-relative normalization will be an interesting anachronism when we've finished selling our country to the Chinese.
posted by vsync at 3:34 AM on June 27, 2008


clown-penis.fart
posted by sandking at 4:18 AM on June 27, 2008 [10 favorites]


The Slashdot story I saw about this pegged the cost of starting a new TLD at around $500K... that's a pretty substantial barrier to entry, and a major company thinking of opening one up would probably have to think long and hard about how they were going to police it once it's open. I would assume that Disney could open the floodgates on .disney, and get first dibs on any domains within it... do they then have the ability to prevent someone from registering inappropriate domains in there, or is ICANN then the arbiter? It gets even worse in non-specific cases... who's going to own .sucks, and is it up to them to make sure it's Walmart that buys walmart.sucks (and redirects it someplace benign) and not somebody's dead-horse-beating homepage? What if the buyer is outside the US, and there's no clear authority in the ensuing lawsuit?

Or, in short, more like ICANN.has.fail, amirite?
posted by Mayor West at 4:58 AM on June 27, 2008


vysnc, it has always been an anachronism, one which has nothing to do with the relative strength of the US economy vs china, but one which has everything to do with a national self-image as the 'shining city on the hill' which is completely out of place with the idea behind a global network with no central node.
posted by modernnomad at 5:01 AM on June 27, 2008


ICANNhas.cheezburger

ICANN has Cheeseburger?


Yes, actually.
icannhascheezburger.com
posted by Kabanos at 5:41 AM on June 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


ellipsis.dotdot
posted by Kabanos at 5:47 AM on June 27, 2008 [7 favorites]


Kabanos: "ellipsis.dotdot"

evil
posted by Science! at 6:01 AM on June 27, 2008


People want to spend money & people want to charge money. The danger of domain squatters is negligible because of the price of it. If you force the owner of a TLD to run their own name servers, then I don't imagine that this will be a huge drain on bandwidth or other computer resources. fraud isn't going to be an issue because nobody is gonna spend $500,000 on .ebay to have it closed down after 2 days. I just don't understand why this is such a big deal.
posted by seanyboy at 6:13 AM on June 27, 2008


worst. idea. ever.
posted by loiseau at 6:51 AM on June 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mister_A@WhoGivesACrap.Whatever
posted by Mister_A at 6:51 AM on June 27, 2008


It's a good thing no one uses regular expressions to recognize domain names.
posted by swift at 7:35 AM on June 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


As long as people start including the damn protocol prefix like they're supposed to, I say 'meh'.
posted by cellphone at 7:44 AM on June 27, 2008


.sex, .cum, .fuck, etc. makes sense (I've been saying they should have those for years.). other than that this is .stupid in my .opninion but that's just my .twocents.
posted by Debaser626 at 7:50 AM on June 27, 2008


Soooo what would a web address look like with the new top level domains? www.mcdonalds.mcdonalds? Or would it just be www.mcdonalds?
posted by picea at 8:07 AM on June 27, 2008


"So this internet thing, it's going better than anyone expected, huh?"

"Yep. Who knew that a globally spanning information network would be so popular. Anyhow, I think we should make a change, something seemingly innocent that will make us a bunch of cash and really open up the possibilities for confusion and scams."

"Why would we do that?"

"Because we're evil."

"Right."


[minutes from the meeting where this decision was made.]
posted by quin at 8:35 AM on June 27, 2008


I say we trash the whole centralized domain system and let people manage their own domain subscriptions. You could subscribe to ICANN's root servers, or you could use someone else's (and actually you can do this now, if you want too)
posted by delmoi at 8:43 AM on June 27, 2008


The internet is about to get a whole lot stupider, kids.

Count me among those who don't believe this is possible. It's like adding 1 to infinity, but with cursing. And porn.
posted by tommasz at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2008


picea: Why have the www? Why not just mcdonalds?
posted by ODiV at 9:30 AM on June 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


ellipsis.dotdot

Actually, as someone mentioned earlier, technically the TLD is "" (blank), so this would be valid:

ellipsis.dot.

at least in Firefox; but then, the Mozilla folks have always had a sense of humor. Witness the domain and directory path of XUL (XML Interface Language): http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul
posted by davejay at 10:43 AM on June 27, 2008


picea: Why have the www? Why not just mcdonalds?

Even better, why type anything at all? Let's just remove the address bar and "go" keyboard shortcuts, and let all the big companies duke it out for the right to force all internet users everywhere to start browsing from their page, from whatever links they choose to offer.

it'll be a little like playing a choose your own adventure, except it'll be no fun at all.
posted by davejay at 10:45 AM on June 27, 2008


Oh, and one more: as long as we're making changes, let's go the other way.

http://icann.use.subdomains.as.subdirectories/like/so

That way, some people can do that, and other people can do it the old way, allowing the person who owns the .dicks TLD to release domains like:

http://icann.eat.a.bowl.of.dicks/

sometimes I forget the internet is not here just to amuse me. wait, why is it here again?
posted by davejay at 10:47 AM on June 27, 2008


Or we should go back to JANet's inverse structure: http://dicks.of.bowl.eat.a.icann//, http://us.icio.del/ etc
posted by bonaldi at 10:57 AM on June 27, 2008


It would add a lot of fun websites like http://hun.gry/

del.icio.us!
posted by explosion at 11:58 AM on June 27, 2008


so I'll forgive the ineptitude in the one you just posted. The domain space is not divided merely into com, net, and org, but also gov, edu, mil, and 1 for every ISO country code (us, uk, ca, ...).

To be fair, I did mention the country codes, but neglected to say gov/edu/mil. So, okay, I missed three. But it's still the fact that the root nameservers give out the same three answers the vast majority of the time, and that's really not necessary.

The root name servers are not pointless.

Of course they're not pointless; they have to be there. It's the subdivision into COM/EDU/NET that's silly. There's no reason to divide that way; the namespace can be "wide" with no real performance penalty.

Furthermore, the TLDs are looked up only once after the system is booted (or once the TTL expires). Furthermore, they are cached by the many intermediate ISP and corporate name servers.

Of course, which is why I carefully specified starting from scratch. I debated over mentioning TTLs and caching, but they seemed pretty much superfluous, and I already write too damn much as it is. It's just not important; it's a trick to reduce load on the main servers, and it will work just as well in a flat namespace as in a deep one. It's basically irrelevant, having no bearing on the decision.

Flattening the namespace is boneheaded. It's not partitioned for performance but for semantics.

I see minimal benefit to the COM/EDU/NET system. Would you care to elaborate?
posted by Malor at 1:51 PM on June 27, 2008


Frankly my dear, I don't give a .damn
posted by kirkaracha at 3:01 PM on June 27, 2008


Paying $500,000 to register www.america.sex is nothing compared to the millions I'd make from the person who wanted to buy it.
posted by tepidmonkey at 4:57 PM on June 27, 2008


dibs on .fail
posted by flotson at 8:40 AM on June 28, 2008


i've always found it interesting that the typical naming convention for domains has the effect of "normalizing" anything located in the US, and largely using regional designations for everything else... ie: cnn.com vs skysports.co.uk, harvard.edu vs oxford.ac.uk, etc...

Benefit of first development. We (Britain) don't have to put "UK" on stamps for a similar reason (Queen's profile instead).
posted by alasdair at 10:39 AM on June 29, 2008


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