Move over Dot Com

11 01 2012

So the ICANN organization, which overseas the regulation of domain names on the Internet, is planning to open domain names up so that (almost) any name can be used as a top-level domain. Translation: instead of having to find and purchase a “.com” domain name, companies and organizations can apply to ICANN to get a tailored top-level domain. In the future we might see corporations trying to set up top-level domains using their company name (think: .pepsi, .nike, .apple). We could also see cities or organizations moving to this type of URL (think: .nyc, .un, .imf).

It’s kind of like having your own vanity licence plate – albeit a very expensive licence plate: just to apply for one of these custom top-level domains it will cost about $185,000. Critics suggest that the price is out of range for many not-for-profit organizations. They also claim that such a system will be hard to regulate and will be confusing for internet users, but supporters suggest that sticking with the relatively few top-level domains that we currently use doesn’t make sense when there are millions of websites. Something has to be done – so an appeal to vanity might just do the trick.

BBC has the story here.


Triple x domain

21 03 2011

It looks like the top-level domain name “.xxx” is about to become a reality. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (better known as Icann) has moved to launch a new domain dedicated to pornographic websites. The debate over this idea has been going on for years: Does “xxx” legitimize pornography as some more conservative religious groups suggest? Does “xxx” ghettoize pornography as the purveyors of adult content suggest?

Does this make finding explicit images easier? Does it make blocking explicit images easier? One important note: Icann is not set up to enforce or police content on any domain – and “xxx” is no different.

Read the story from BBC or the draft paper from Icann.

Change of Addresses

30 10 2009

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently voted to allow for non-Latin characters to be used in top level domain names (.com, .jp, .cn, etc.). Previous to this announcement Chinese, Arabic, Korean and other non-Latin characters could be used before the ‘dot,’ but the URL always ended with letters from the Latin alphabet. Now, an entire URL can be written in non-Latin characters. The hope is that this will make the Internet more accessible to millions of people. Some are concerned that allowing other languages in the domain names will make it harder to fight cyberattacks, but ICANN seems to think such concerns are unwarranted.

For more statistics and opinions you can find the story from the NYT.

Domain name kiting

30 01 2008


When someone registers a domain name with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) there is a five-day grace period before the registrant is required to pay. The grace period was designed to allow people to correct mistakes they might have made on the original domain name request. Of course, it didn’t take long for people to start registering large numbers of domain names to see which ones would generate more traffic (a practice known as domain tasting).

Domain tasting has morphed into domain kiting – where registrants continually renew their domain names every 5 days (avoiding payment). The real problem is that these websites then post ads to their sites. For visitors, the website is almost exclusively advertising, meaning that the website owners profit everytime the ads are viewed or clicked. Fortunately, Google (and probably others…) are cracking down. Read the rest of the story from the CBC’s website.

[Image: broterham – Flickr – cc]