back to article UK-US corporate world slams 'dot-brand' domain plans

Lobby groups representing a majority of US advertisers and online media companies have demanded that domain name overseer ICANN slam the brakes on its controversial new generic top-level domains programme. Claiming the gTLD programme is "likely to cause irreparable harm and damage", the US Association of National Advertisers ( …

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Ru
Meh

Now there's a surprise

I reserve a fair bit of contempt for the advertising industry, but I quite agree with their position here. The fascinating thing is they represent the companies most able to get a dot-brand in the first place; they'd be the ones most able to benefit once they'd got over the half-million dollar hump which would be pocket change for them. I wish them luck.

Maybe doing a better job of policing the .com namespace would be far more productive. Increase the costs, make it easier for valueless advertising domains to be shut down and replaced with genuine content, make the barrier to entry higher, whatever. There's plenty of space in the rest of the TLDs for vanity domains a cheap, contentless crap.

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Anonymous Coward

They have the most to lose

"The fascinating thing is they represent the companies most able to get a dot-brand in the first place;"

And the ones most likely to be bled dry by all the domains they would have to register. Most megacorps have numerous trademarks that would be as viable for TLDs as any other, and they WOULD have to register them all to prevent squatters.

DNS is supposed to be a TREE, not a LAWN: a small, well defined set of trunks, not a carpet of tiny stalks.

Personally, I think they should get rid of about 99% of the .com, .org, and .net names - if you are not TRULY international, you register in a local domain: US wide business, you register in .com.us, Kansas wide business, you register in .com.ks.us, UK wide, .co.uk, etc. If you are NOT a network provider, you don't get .net.*, if you are NOT a non-profit, you don't get .org.*.

Too many times when searching for a widget, I find some .com that only ships to the UK (and I'm sure the inverse case is even worse for those of you in the UK) - if they were limited it would be much better.

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@David D. Hagood

>>"If you are not TRULY international, you register in a local domain: US wide business, you register in .com.us, Kansas wide business, you register in .com.ks.us, UK wide, .co.uk, etc. If you are NOT a network provider, you don't get .net.*, if you are NOT a non-profit, you don't get .org.*."

>>"Too many times when searching for a widget, I find some .com that only ships to the UK (and I'm sure the inverse case is even worse for those of you in the UK) - if they were limited it would be much better."

I guess it depends what 'truly international' means.

If someone doing retail sales wanted a .com under your ideal system, could they qualify by just offering mail order to anywhere at well above extra cost?

If I wanted to justify my 'personal' .com domain (used mainly for email), I guess I could offer one or more of the things I currently sell (sometimes internationally) from my main .co.uk business on the website?

Who would make the decisions - the people who would stand to lose money if the domain vanished?

And how do I know when I start a web-fronted business what territories I'm going to end up selling in?

I wouldn't necessarily want to have to buy more domains as I expanded, even if I was lucky enough to find them still available.

I might want to start with a .com just in case, or stick with a .co.uk after going international.

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.net

Is for networking, as in Facebook.net is it not?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.net

hmm... I stand corrected. Carry on.

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Agree - narrow DNS breadth, don't widen it

I totally agree. In fact, two years ago (IIRC) I sent an email to ICANN proposing essentially what you describe as far as country-locality.

"Personally, I think they should get rid of about 99% of the .com, .org, and .net names - if you are not TRULY international, you register in a local domain: US wide business, you register in .com.us, Kansas wide business, you register in .com.ks.us, UK wide, .co.uk, etc. If you are NOT a network provider, you don't get .net.*, if you are NOT a non-profit, you don't get .org.*."

Of course, at this late date, such a change would cause serious loss of revenue for a bunch of lucky micro-nations with TLDs such as .tv. I recall when the original rules regarding .net and .org were dropped, more-or-less casually (about 1997, IIRC). At that time ICANN was

a tiny, underfunded bunch of geeks and had insufficient means to enforce, so they just gave up. But now that the internet is big business, there's no reason they couldn't - except for the disruption that it would cause now. That horse has left the barn. I suppose there could be a five year transition period during which the old .net, .com, .org domains would be transitioned into country-based domains, and those cames would eventually eliminated entirely. Then with the already-in-use smart searches and domain handling, if someone types in "McDonalds" then the most likely match would be the one on the street nearest you.

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@Gary Blickford

>>"I suppose there could be a five year transition period during which the old .net, .com, .org domains would be transitioned into country-based domains, and those names would eventually eliminated entirely."

I could see all kinds of issues where a 'legitimate' .com domain can't transition in to one (or more) appropriate local domains because they're already legitimately taken by other companies with the same basic domain name root, (such as one based on a common surname or company initials, or some other connection).

And I'd wonder what kinds of lawsuits might come from people who'd paid a fortune for some premium .com name, or spent a fortune building up a reputation around one that they'd bought if the name was going to be terminated simply in a supposed attempt to make it easier for some fraction or people to work out where a company does business.

Surely, some kind of meaningful site-related metadata standards that provided good company locality information (and maybe other useful information) to people who were interested would do rather more to help people find what they wanted than causing all manner of ructions in domain names.

There might be some possibility for abuse by people trying to push a crap site up search rankings, but it can't be beyond the wit of humankind to find a mechanism which overall is more useful than misleading.

>>"Then with the already-in-use smart searches and domain handling, if someone types in "McDonalds" then the most likely match would be the one on the street nearest you."

Which is rather making assumptions about what someone actually wants to find.

And even with country-based domains, it still requires a mechanism for finding the local store from all the ones in the country.

A mechanism which seems likely to work just as well even with the existing domain name system, whether it works by trawling through sites with or without metadata assistance, or by people who want to have one or more places findable registering the information in some web directory that makes searches easier.

Personally, if I was going to type in 'mcdonalds' and hit a 'find local' button, or type in 'luton mcdonalds', I'd quite like it to find McDonalds paint suppliers or McDonalds hairderessers at least as much as McDonalds 'restaurant', and that doesn't seem like something that can be much helped by domain name fiddling, even if they start getting very area-specific.

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Gold badge

"ICANN's supporters" are stupid

"It's inconceivable that the ANA and the other objectors didn't see it coming, and yet both organisations participated very little in its creation, ICANN's supporters say."

Well, duh! They just don't want it so how, exactly, are they supposed to participate? Are they supposed to spend 3 (or 13) years repeatedly saying "I don't want this."? Would that have counted as sufficient participation, or would it have been written off as "unhelpfully negative"?

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Unhappy

how ICANN fucked it up

Anyone is free to participate in ICANN meetings and policy making. This means that those who shout loudest for longest win in the end. They will always prevail in a war of attrition becaus ethey can keep going longer than anyone else. Which is what has happened here. The voices of reason who repeatedly said "we don't want or need new TLDs" got drowned out and out-spent by those who had the opposite view. So they gave up banging their head against that brick wall and quit the game.

The forces of darkness then declared consensus for zillions of new TLDs because any opposing voices had gone away and given up in disgust. ICANN's management said "The community has spoken. They want lots of TLDs. We must make it so.". The fact that community was self-selecting and unrepresentative was and is irrelevant. ICANN's got to do what its deeply flawed community and procedures have decided.

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How much does it matter anyway?

I wonder what % of people actually type a URL into the address bar nowadays, compared with those that just type something into Google and click on whatever it turns up. I'd think that whatever domain names you have is becoming less and less important; far more important that when the right search term is enetered that you are the first hit.

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Ru

It matters because nobody benefits but ICANN

Like the last bloody stupid wave of tlds... mobi, aero, museum anyone? Everyone who doesn't want to be cybersquatted is obliged to pay up, again and again. Consumers don't benefit or care, and the companies at best gain no benefit.

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Silver badge
Headmaster

to dot or to no dot

"right-of-the-dot domain name"

Pedantry alert, but in a fully qualified domain name the very right most character is a dot, therefore everything is left of the dot. The root domain is and empty string so the . separates the root from the top level domains.

During name resolution if the included part of the name is not matched by the DNS it is automatically assume root *might* be an option so it can be queried. If a domain name ends in . then it is fully qualified and no further suffix searching is required.

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Headmaster

to dot or not to dot

>>> Pedantry alert, but in a fully qualified domain name the very right most character is a dot, therefore everything is left of the dot

<Hyper Pedantry Mode>

No it isn't. Actually there's a null character after the right-most dot in a fully qualified domain name. Though it's usually not supplied or shown when the name is in text format. The dot characters separate all labels in domain names, not just between the root and top-level domains. Read RFC1035.

Your explanation of name resolution is wrong and confused too.

</Hyper Pedantry Mode>

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Clearly a broken idea

Trademarks only apply within a specific field. Why should Apple Computer be any more entitled to ".apple" than the Fruit Marketing Board of Elbonia? Why should Halifax bank be able to claim ".halifax" any more than Halifax, West Yorkshire or Halifax, Nova Scotia? If Halifax, Elbonia manages to grab .halifax then it's just asking for phishing attempts like "onlinebanking.halifax"...

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@Tom Wood

>>"Trademarks only apply within a specific field. Why should Apple Computer be any more entitled to ".apple" than the Fruit Marketing Board of Elbonia? Why should Halifax bank be able to claim ".halifax" any more than Halifax, West Yorkshire or Halifax, Nova Scotia?"

Presumably it gets decided by who pays the most money to ICANN and/or a pack of lawyers.

Though for me as a consumer, how does it actually help?

No only do I generally get to things via links rather than typing in a URL, as Pete B points out, but if I do type in a URL, I can currently just type 'coke' and follow it with a CTRL-ENTER to get to the right site.

If Coca-Cola do buy '.coke', that's not going to make it any easier for me to access their site, and surely it's obvious that the more seemingly legitimate URLs for a given company there are, the more effort both they and I will both have to put in to be confident that I'm not visiting a fake site.

Even with things like '.music', would there really be a great value in that, since much of the time the expensive TLD is only going to be visible in the middle of one or other mangled auto-generated URL which few people are ever going to look at.

I visit websites, not TLDs, and if one '.music' site is good, that's likely no more a guarantee that any others will be than one .com site is of the quality of another.

If someone was going to police the '.music' TLD sufficiently to assure uniform high quality and allow a reputation to be built, how is that different from someone organising a collection of similarly assured websites linked to an existing .com domain?

I'm still going to need some way to get to individual '.music' websites, likely via links from somewhere I trust, so how is my experience actually changed by the new TLD.

Is there really some great new Web 3.0 dawn that '.whatever' will usher in that 'whatever.com' just wasn't capable of doing?

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Gold badge
Coat

Re: "...If Coca-Cola do buy '.coke',"

I believe a consortium of loosely-affiliated Latin American businesses have already bid more for that one than Coca-Cola can afford......

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WTF?

Who actually wanted this?

This is not a troll, and (hopefully) not a stupid question. Which influential players at any point said "I need a TLD of my own?" Because as other comments have pointed out, this is ripe for both abuse and legitimate conflict of interest, and all so people can type in a URL? Who actually types URLs any more?

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Silver badge
Meh

Beancounters

The bean counters wanted it more than anybody it sounds like to me. This whole thing sounds exactly like the half baked schemes that come out of sales meetings where the company has run out of things to sell.

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Bronze badge

Who wanted this?

Given ICANN stand to make $185,000 per application, take a wild guess. No-one wanted ".xxx" either except the people selling it.

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Didn't the Reg have a hack who was part of all this?

I seem to remember reading a Reg article a while ago by someone who was getting all moist in the trousers about how this was going to be the greatest gold-rush of the 21st century. He got all shirty when the commentard response was generally 'meh. Fail ahoy' and dedicated lots of time to assuring us that we 'didn't get it'.

Guess he's too busy getting rich from buying and selling .queue-argos and .tat-ebay to participate now.

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No, still here

That would be me.

I'm still here. New Internet extensions will still change the way everyone views and uses the Internet. And people will continue to find reasons to rail against change, as they always have and always will.

One year from now, everyone will be building up to the release of new extensions. In two years, there will be the odd scare piece as something goes wrong somewhere. In three years, people will wonder - or have chosen to forgot - what all the fuss was about.

Kieren

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Coat

57 Varieties

Wouldn't that make them half baked bean counters ?

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@kierenmccarthy

>>"New Internet extensions will still change the way /everyone/ views and uses the Internet."

>>"One year from now, /everyone/ will be building up to the release of new extensions. "

For /some/ values of 'everyone', I suppose.

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Stop

@kierenmccarthy - sounds like you agree with me

At least, in that three years people will wonder what the fuss was all about. The vast majority of people will continue to use URLs the same as before - via links, bookmarks or Google search results.

Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars will have been wasted on ICANN fees and lawyers' bills, and tens of thousands of man-hours of support will have been wasted setting up pointless new domains and dealing with the fallout from domain disputes, cybersquatters and scammers.

It all seems spectacularly pointless and wasteful to me. Perhaps if DNS had been set up with this in mind originally - but it wasn't, and I strongly doubt this is going to have *any* effect, positive or negative, on mainstream internet usage.

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Anonymous Coward

On the other hand...

I really don't like the idea in principle. Back when it was "dot com with everything" it was almost impossible to get people to use anything else for an address - users still view anything "exotic" like .com.uk with suspicion. This just adds another level of confusion when trying to explain to average users how to avoid getting phished. Perversely, using their own shiny new TLD may even blow back on large organisations just because it doesn't look right to some punters who want the familiar comfort of the familiar.

The world could comfortably have done without this I think. No one is exactly screaming for a larger supply of domain names, and apart for those pocketing the 185 grand, its hard to see who benefits.

However the fact it's put advertisers noses out of joint does suggest it has at least some upside.

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.com.uk

Well for a start "domains" bought from .com.uk are a con and a waste of money. That is someone selling 3rd level domains to their master domain for £60 a year (last time I looked). It isn't a TLD. Maybe you meant .co.uk?

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FAIL

@BoldMan

If you are going to be pedantic about his typo, at least get it right.

It's uk.com. not com.uk.

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Trollface

Is.....

apple.overpriced taken???????

fanbois, begin your down-voting

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FAIL

Is....

it true that only an idiot can take an article that is not even remotely connected to Apple and turn try and turn it into a fanboi hatefest. Now run along... Mummy is calling you for bedtime.

....and no, I 'm not an Apple fanboi. In fact I don't own any Apple hardware at all.

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Historical background on ICANN and IANA

Anyone seeking historical background on the origins of IANA (not the ANA of the article, but an important Internet standards authority), the rise of the DNS War, and the founding of ICANN is welcome to take a look at my Ph.D dissertation, "Launching the DNS War: Dot Com Privatization and the Rise of Global Internet Governance."

It's on Scribd at

http://www.scribd.com/doc/58805571/

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Joke

Wh decides

which company gets denim.jeans.com? Levi? Vanderbilt? Armani?

I can see the arguments, just as the US based company always wins the domain dispute against the UK based comapany.

All this new TLD stuff will do is help more crap get to the top of the google search pane and force legit (?) search results to pay more for "targeted" search results

Also boost ICAAN executive pay packets

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Bronze badge
Flame

I told them so

I told them this was a really stupid idea before ICANN was even created, back when there was some hope of a vaguely rational approach to managing the TLD space (1995 or thereabouts). But they were too greedy, and they still are. It is all about greed and always has been. I'm glad Jon Postel didn't live to see this.

You can tell greed has gone out of all bounds when iab.com is against ICANN. I suspect this may be the first time that iab.com and iab.org are on the same side of the fence.

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