A revolutionary change is coming to the Internet this year – and you probably know nothing about it. El Reg regular Kieren McCarthy has set up a conference next week in San Francisco aimed at shaking people out of their stupor. “The biggest landrush in history is just months away but instead of people sitting on their horses …
I'm afraid not
I'm afraid the rest of the world isn't ignoring new extensions. Russia put out a new top-level domain in Russian just a few months ago (November).
It sold 500,000 domains in the first month. It is now at over 737,000 - see here: http://cctld.ru/en/statistics/rfdomains.php
"Suddenly it’s a matter of what we as Internet users want – not what we are given."
What a load of marketing tosh. So the big problem with the Internet now is that one can't get a decent domain name. As soon as that is sorted, it's all going to be good and dandy. The 'next Google and Facebook' will not need a quadrillion dollars to get started and fund themselves and compete with the current humongous incumbents, will not need radically new ideas and approaches, will not need to deal with increasing government regulation and 'big money' interests - all they will need is just a really smart and catchy domain name. Geez - is there any common sense left? No wonder everybody went nuts over the whole dot.com boom and lost their grandma's pension in the deal.
Right - I'll get my coat - stop shouting.
So does this mean...
...that there will be cybersquatters sitting on www.google.cim and www.google.cpm and www.google.clm and every other possible typo of "com" waiting for unsuspecting victims?
Google could just get dot-google.
It's not going to take people long to realise that unless it ends in "google" it's not Google.
And as for Google business model - the company is looking at whether it should include the top-level domain itself in its algorithms.
When having a dot-music site suddenly pushes you above all other sites for people looking for music - do you think then that people might have a reason to register?
Time to inflate the new bubble!
You know, not all of us are children; some of us do actually recall the *last* "biggest landrush in history", and how it ended.
Enjoy partying with your new batch of rich suckers, though, and good luck sponging off them for as long as the good times last.
will there also be rainbows and unicorns and clouds of cotton candy at this conference? Is this a conference about networking or a conference about a religious experience? McCarthy certainly seems to have a religious fervor about this.
Great, as if the idiot Internet users don't already have enough trouble distinguishing between .com, .net, and .org. Lets have LOTS of extensions so nobody will ever know what site they're trying to get to.
Yes, I'm old and crusty and don't give a damn about giving the Internet users what they want. We tried that already and all we got for the trouble was Napster and Facebook.
I don't imagine that if you see a Starbucks in New York City and then walk past one in San Francisco that you suddenly wonder whether you are actually in New York.
Words are words and people are extremely adept at understanding them in their contexts.
Slate is a news site. But nothing about the name itself would lead you to believe it. Is it at Slate.com? Or Slate.org? Do you know for sure? But if it was at Slate.news - you'd probably recall that.
or did I see that site at
See, right now, there are only 3 things you need to try to get to the site (not counting country extensions or the new TLDs that nobody is really using) - slate.com, slate.org, or slate.net . It's a simple set of rules for the simple minded users.
I think you're giving the users far too much credit. As a general mass, they are relatively simple, stupid creatures. We, as the administrators, simply try to keep them from hurting themselves by having to think too hard. If they were as intelligent, en masse, as you are implying, none of us would have a job.
Wrong kind of stupid
You are confusing what people are stupid about and what they are very smart about.
People are stupid about things that have to be done accurately that they haven't learnt about - hence the eternal sysadmin/user problem.
But people are incredibly smart when it comes to interactions with other humans. The average soap opera contains an immensely complex series of interactions between a large number of people - yet even the least intelligent person understands the implications of one individual's behaviour to another as soon as it happens.
The more human you make the Internet, the more people will intrinsically get it. And words are a solely human system that we specifically devised for interacting with the computer network that is the Internet.
The problem is that most of us continue to see the Internet as a technical system. It will always be that underneath, but it has now become a much more human system (social media) - and opening it out to more words will only help us see the Net as less computer and more a part of our lives.
Well, at least the URL is honest.
The problem with having multiple tld's is going to be confusion from the layman Internet user. For most people, to get Google, they would type google.com, microsoft would be microsoft.com or El Reg, theregister.com. For El Reg, the .com address actually routes back to their .co.uk address for this very reason. Google and Microsoft also both have .co.uk addresses for country specific content. Does this mean that the people getting the .nxt, .idiot etc addresses will also have to get a .com? Sort of defeats the purpose.
Then there are instances of companies with similar names using different tld's. For example, javatime.com and javatime.ca are two that have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, but I wonder how many times people have gone to javatime.com when they really wanted to go to javatime.ca? With the new tld's, this will only get worse.
What does "com" actually mean?
Here's the thing: the three letters "com" don't actually mean anything.
In fact, if you look the word up in the dictionary you will find that "com" has only ever be used to precede words - not act as a suffix.
There is nothing inherent in "com" except for the fact that some people thought there needed to be a commercial space on the Internet and technical constraints at the time meant it would be best to have just three letters. (Incidentally when it was argued that dot-com should be added, there were a lot of people saying there was no need for it.)
With the massive explosion in Net use in the past decade, the Internet has become much bigger than its naming systems. When you simply can't find a decent name available ending in "com" because every possible combination and permutation has been used up, it makes perfect sense to open it out.
Our kids will look back at this first decade of the Internet and think it hilarious that nearly every big site ended in the same three meaningless letters.
It was short for Company
"Here's the thing: the three letters "com" don't actually mean anything"
You're almost right. For the _average_ (non-geek) user, the letters after the second dot mean nothing whatsoever. It can be .com, .biz, .ringpiecepolish, it really doesn't matter.
Take the most significant bit of the website name (amazon, register, fatcelebs, whatever) and type it into google. Then click on a few of the results - that's how a huge proportion of users navigate the web. The proliferation of browsers with address bar serach / omnibox means that this will probably become even more common.
The extension on the domain name will be completely irrelevant provided the site can drum up enough cross-links to register high on the search engines - so anyone with any sense will just grab whatever's cheapest and spend their actual budget on content and spamming the url onto FaceTwatTube.
What are you wittering on about?
COM is short for commercial, EDU is short for educational, ORG is short for non-profit organisation, NET is short for network orientated meta-thingies. This isn't complicated.
Our kids will look back on this decade and say "So everyone knew that google was at google.com? Wow, that's so simple and straight-forward."
NB: Is it my browser (Safari) or is there no way to see which post this is in reply to? If it's not my browser, then this post is in reply to the Kieren "I can see the dollar signs now" McCarthy,
The Google argument
This is not the first time that the Google argument has been used - you type what you want into a search engine and end up at a site - so TLDs are irrelevant.
Unfortunately, this argument overlooks several fundamental issues:
* New TLDs will be used by Google and other search engines as part of their algorithms. It makes perfect sense - people will register under a domain that represents them or their content. As such, the TLD itself becomes a very effective - and very easy - way to rate website. It will be added to the mix. Go ask Google what its plans are
* Domain names are in fact intrinsically valuable. And you only have to look at the blossoming domainer industry to realise that. There is value in a name - and it's because that's how we remember things. Sex.com sold for $11.5m recently. With very little business behind. You can actually ask the original owner of Sex.com - Gary Kremen - what his thoughts on this are at .nxt - he'll be there giving a fireside chat.
* Domains are the most valuable marketing tool for online business of all sorts. Just ask any marketing expert. Why would people print their domains in huge letters on every billboard and ad otherwise? It's about name and brand. Otherwide ads would say "Just search for us in Google". They don't.
* Search engines live on top of the Internet - they are not the Internet. To say the underlying infrastructure is less important that the services that live above it is to get it completely the wrong way around. Do you honestly believe that Google is the only way the Internet will ever be accessed? Of course it won't - things change. What about the increasing use of apps to get at content? An arguments that something structural doesn't make sense but of the changing market on top of it is a recipe for disaster.
Put more simply: you don't get it. Which is why this conference exists - to get the discussions going and point to the future of the Internet.
Any colour so long as it's black
Henry Ford famously said that people could have his Model T in any colour so long as it was black.
If you follow your logic - simple is good, status quo is best - then we would all be driving around in black and grey cars made by two of three companies. And we wouldn't have electric windows, ABS, sports cars, electric cars, SUVs, and every other variation.
You call is simple and straightforward. The flipside of that is what has made modern society so incredibly diverse: choice.
Re: dollar signs. The conference is being host by the Internet Society and is non-profit. Very few, if any, profits will be made from the conference.
.blog, .sex, .foo, .bar...
Meanwhile the rest of the world completely ignores all of this and carries on using .com. Or, in some cases, .co(m).(insert country code).
Is this another marketing release?
For whoever is pushing .nxt --- as a conference or tld or whatever.
Why does everything have to be new, when it isn't?
Your are now reading the first ever comment on El Reg! Duhhh... except for the hundreds of thousands before it. There are now going to be new TLDs. Like there have been before.
Actually Thad, this is radically different from all new TLDs that have come before - that's why it's worth having a conference about.
There are several types of top-level domains. There are the g or generic top-level domains, and the s, or sponsored top-level domain. Dot-com, dot-org etc. There are 21 of these. And most have been formed in two restricted rounds run by ICANN in 2000 and 2004.
And then there are the country-code or cc top-level domains. Every country in the world is allocated one according to a international standard. It's what gives Germany its dot-de and Libya it's dot-ly. They are always two-letters and they are pre-defined.
And finally there are some very new IDN ccTLDs - which are typically the translation of the ccTLD for a given country into that country's language. Like .РФ for Russia's .ru.
The HUGE difference this time around is that the choices aren't restricted. You can apply for anything you want. You can apply for dot-ihatetlds if you want. Although it's unlikely anyone would want to buy a second level domain under that.
There are rules of course. But suddenly it means that the creativity of the Internet's naming systems are opened at the top-level. We all now know the word "google" but it was a pure invention - it meant nothing before a huge company was built around it.
Likewise, words we do know - like music, hotel, bike, florida, health, money and so on can now be used at the top-level. All of those words btw have people who have said they are going to apply for them - see the full list here: http://dot-nxt.com/applicants/all
So that's why this time it's different. Massively different.
Wonder if this means .xxx will finally arrive?
Not sure what the latest is, but the .xxx TLD seemed to have a lot of trouble getting approval so does this mean it'll finally arrive or will ICANN stop it again?
All this sounds like a great way for ICANN and no doubt various consultants to make some money as there'll almost certainly be an application fee, but beyond that, really not sure about the point.
Those above are right when they say users have enough confusion - many can't even get the idea of .co.uk and insist it must be .com.uk as the internet is .com, isn't it....mind you, the web is the internet apparently and Google translated from Hebrew means "God". :)
Think I'll keep my $400, plus air fare, hotel bill, hire car, etc.
The problem with icann in this particular case
is that they're busily removing floor tile after floor tile that the whole tld reselling scam rests on. If TLDs go that cheap, why not just go flatspace?
Haven't really kept up, but I do hope they managed to come up with a way to revoke TLDs. If not, we're going to see the same "already taken" effect that's driven so many of the choices in registering .com SLDs. TLD-squatting, anyone? It really doesn't make sense to make TLDs (nearly) as ubiquitous as SLDs and then inexplicably treat them differently.
icann is clearly thinking "after us, the deluge". Thanks so much for your governorship, guys.
Lesson from History
The original plan was for each country to run its domains under the ccTLD. The Special TLD were meant for multi-national use. However person in charge of the dot-us domain failed. Thus US used international TLDs for domestic US use. ,,,once a well is polluted...
BTW we were lucky that the DNS servers were able to scale to cope with the unintended non-hierarchical nature of .COM
IMHO the TLD should mandate the country of jurisdiction of content and behavior.
The giants of the early Internet could only point the way...
wont this make it worse?
Instead of different people being able to own site.com, site.net, site.org and run different sites on them without treading on each others toes now they've severly reduced the namespace to the point where everyone will want .name and not be happy with anything else.
This'll be fun to watch...
You amercentric clods!
Its not all about .com - what about .uk! Its one of the reasons I fled Canada for the UK, all the sites I know and love are proud to put the country code as the TLD! Well, um, er: Firefox can't find the server at mail.google.co.uk. and myspace.co.uk sells mobile phones...Oops! Firefox could not find www.facebook.co.uk
Have you seen how much it costs to apply ? $185,000. If you don't get allocated the name you've applied for ( because someone else puts up a better argument ) you don't get that back. It's an 'evaluation' fee.
The fee is $185,000 - ICANN set that based on the need for the whole program to be revenue neutral.
If you apply and you do not get through, a percentage of that is refunded, depending on how far through the process you have gone. I don't know the exact figures off the top of my head, but broadly it is something like 75%, 50% and 25% depending on which stage you get to.
Of course if you want to know the answers, you just have to come to the session that will cover all the rules in depth: http://dot-nxt.com/agenda/wed/policy-application