Internet domain names are currently very limited, everyone wants a .com address but of course all the good ones went ages ago. New startups are being forced to adopted increasingly silly names to ensure they can kick start their business.
I see this restriction as a massive barrier to Internet evolution. It doesn’t seem right that new companies should be held back just because they were formed long after the Internet land rush. Yet the problem is easy to solve, ICANN can allow domains to be registered using a much wider range of suffixes.
And, as I predicted many years ago, they have finally paved the way for this to happen.
Not a Popular Decision?
This plan has quickly become unpopular and I suspect I know why. The establishment already owns the domain names they need, their sites have been doing good business for years and they probably have a portfolio of site names ready to sell on at a later date.
Of course current site owners and domainers are going to oppose these changes – why would they want to support competition? Current owners have a vested interest in keeping things closed.
Apparently there are many reasons why this move will signify the end of the Internet:
- I have read articles stating that big companies will be forced to register their trademarks to prevent cyber squatting – but with a 300 page application form I suspect at least one of the questions might ask if you have the right to make the registration! Besides, surely big companies will be pretty keen to register.
- I have also read that this is a disaster because it will be confusing for us Internet users. We won’t know which sites are the good ones. This is the most crazy of all arguments as it implies that just because a site ends in .com it is automatically good. Rubbish – it just means the owner got there first!
The Internet is still very young compared to other media and it is critical that it is allowed to evolve further. This does mean that existing sites may fall away and newer and better ones come along. This is a good thing.
Why limit ourselves by restricting expansion? We are in danger of keeping out bright entrepreneurs and supporting the lazy establishment instead.
Search Engine Responsability
One final piece of the puzzle. Search Engines should continue to rank the best and most relevant websites at the top of their results, but they should not favour one top level domain over another.
As a user I shouldn’t care what the name of the site is, I just want to see the best one. I don’t want to be forced to visit the .com just because the owner set the site up in 1999 and hasn’t needed to spend any time or effort evolving the site since.
If a newer superior site was forced to register with .biz then it should appear above the inferior .com.
I honestly do understand the arguments against this move, but all the reported problems have obvious solutions. Either people aren’t using their imaginations or they are willing this to fail before it even starts.
Sure, it will take some getting used to but let’s give the Internet using public some credit.
We’re only just getting started.