ICANN paves way for more top-level domains

Next year may see an explosion of new web top-level domains. As the Associated Press reports, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has approved new guidelines that will allow the introduction of “hundreds, perhaps thousands” of new TLDs for locations (e.g. .nyc or .berlin) or industries (e.g. .bank).

The AP says names probably won’t start showing up until at least 2009, as ICANN must still work out some details—like what to charge for the introduction of new TLDs. Reportedly, TLDs may cost as much as $100,000 a piece to implement. Companies and organizations proposing new domains will also be subject to an initial review phase, during which “anyone may raise an objection on such grounds as racism, trademark conflicts and similarity to an existing suffix.”

Along with this decision, the AP says ICAAN has agreed to “open public comment on a separate proposal to permit addresses entirely in non-English languages for the first time.” The agency also “approved recommendations” for measures against so-called domain name testing, where firms purchase many domain names, see which ones attract the most traffic, and get the other ones refunded before a five-day time limit. ICANN plans to stop refunding companies who seek refunds on too many domains.

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    • Hattig
    • 11 years ago

    Yay .tech ftw.

    • SpotTheCat
    • 11 years ago

    It’s too bad mandatory usage of .xxx for pornographic websites didn’t pan out. It would have made website filtering for schools a lot easier.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 11 years ago

      Yes, that seemed like a perfectly logical idea to have an xxx domain. Maybe if they tried for a TLD of .pr0n!?!

        • UberGerbil
        • 11 years ago

        This has exactly the same problem as gun registration: for the most part, the people who comply are not the people you’re worried about.

          • BenBasson
          • 11 years ago

          I imagine it’d be pretty easy to enforce by simply blocking access to any porn site that isn’t on the xxx TLD in America and other cooperating countries after a grace period of a year or two. Yeah, some might slip through, but it’d be a completely unambiguous rule to enforce if they get caught, with instant repercussions for their business.

            • shank15217
            • 11 years ago

            schools are not required to use .edu, businesses are not required to use .com, government sites are not required to use .gov so why are porn sites required to use .xxx and what constitutes a porn site? Top level domains make it easier for users to find sites and make dns more manageable, its not a method of filtering content.

            • UberGerbil
            • 11 years ago

            There was a time when you couldn’t get a .org domain unless you were a non-profit, or a .edu if you weren’t an accredited educational institution. You still can’t get a .mil or .gov domain.

            But your larger point is correct: filtering is not the purpose of TLDs, and defining “porn” is notoriously and impossibly subjective, not to mention far to variable for a worldwide system like the internet (I rather suspect that, say, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands might have somewhat different definitions, and neither one might work for mainstream America). Plus, as I said, there’s far too much opportunity to evade the system (good luck getting a site to register properly when it is hosted in Tuvalu or upper Obscuristan) and the sites you most want to hide from sensitive eyes will do exactly that.

            • TheTechReporter
            • 11 years ago

            Sure, filtering is not the (current) purpose of TLD’s, but there is no reason why you couldn’t use them for filtering.

            Plus, it would make things easier for people who actually _want_ to find porn sites.
            That relates to the #1 reason why I’m disappointed that you can choose (almost) any TLD you want. There’s no guarantee that .edu has anything to do with education, or .org has anything to do with an organization, or .net has anything to do with a network. Everything is now chaos, and the TLD’s might as well be .blah, .asdf, and .foo, because they would be just as meaningful now that everyone is using whatever TLD they want for whatever purpose they want.

            • axeman
            • 11 years ago

            l[

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Yeesh! URLs in non-english?? Coming from a guy that works at a translation office, that sounds like a horrible idea.

      • ew
      • 11 years ago

      Indeed, this will ruin an English speakers ability to navigate a foreign language web site by simply looking at the URL text.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        I don’t see what’s wrong with using english as the standard. Air traffic controllers, no matter what country, are required to use english.

        • BiffStroganoffsky
        • 11 years ago

        Non-American sites with English URLs are already confusing now because the translation usually gets lost without the context when they create the site names. I just follow the girly pictures. *shrug*

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Arguably some of the TLBs are already non-English — .de is short for the German word for Germany, not the English one, .es comes from the Spanish word for Spain, etc. There are some countries where that isn’t the case, and they’ll probably want a TLD that better represents the native language name of the country, so we’ll end up with two TLDs for some countries.

      However, using other languages — particularly those that require more than the base ASCII/ ISO 8859-1 character set, does create some problems…because AFAIK support for full unicode is still pretty spotty on handheld devices that represent the fastest growing category of internet clients.

      §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalized_domain_name<]§

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah for clarification: I meant urls in non-roman script. Having your url be in a different language is totally fine, just keep the roman script plz!!

        Could you imagine trying to put chinese characters into your address bar? The madness!!

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 years ago

          Actually, it’s not that crazy. Computer systems in China can use pinyin (the phonetic latin transliteration for Chinese characters) for entry and then display the appropriate character (frequently with an intermediate step of choosing from a set of approximate homonyms if the pinyin is ambiguous). However a lot of handheld devices don’t offer that, so Chinese text each other in pinyin. Which leads to an interesting cultural phenomena: the younger generation is quite comfortable using a latin text for their non-latin native language, which will probably lead to concerns about patrimony and cultural imperialism eventually, but offers quite a productivity boon in return.

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