ICANN Finally Relaxes TLD Requirements — But It Still Looks Like A Money Grab

from the cluster.f**k dept

For years, we’ve been among those who wondered what good it did for ICANN to dribble out new top level domains (TLDs — such as .info, .biz, .aero, etc.) every few years. For the most part, these new domains didn’t do much other than force companies to buy their name on each new TLD as it was released. It basically just seemed like a way for ICANN and registrars to keep fleecing companies. Instead, we agreed with those who wondered why we had a limited number of TLDs in the first place. Why not just open it up and let any address work?

Well, now ICANN has taken a step in that direction… but, not really. It has agreed to open up the TLD system to those beyond what was approved, but anyone registering a name on a non-standard TLD will need to show a “business plan and technical capacity.” Why do they need a business plan? What if they just want to set up a site for fun? Oh, right, because if you have a business plan, it means you have money to pay for stuff — say $100,000 to $500,000?

In other words, rather than really opening up the system, it looks like yet another money grab.

In better news, however, it appears that ICANN has also decided to put in place a tiny charge for registering domain names and dropping them in the “grace period.” This hopefully should greatly reduce the practice of domain hoarding (or “domain kiting” or “domain tasting” depending on who you talk to). As you may know. companies have been pulling all sorts of tricks using this grace period to register domains without ever having to pay for them. And, as a result, even companies like Network Solutions have gotten into the game, while pretending that they were holding any domain you searched for in order to “protect” you from others who might squat on the name.

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Comments on “ICANN Finally Relaxes TLD Requirements — But It Still Looks Like A Money Grab”

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Jake says:

Mildly off-topic, but I swear to God that the next time I hear a BBC newscaster describe ICANN as ‘the organisation that manages the Internet’, I’m going to sit down and write a very long letter telling them what a bunch of morons they’ve got working in the research department right now. And forward a copy to the Times!

Bloody hell. This must be how Angry Dude feels all the time…

Scott says:

There’s very little technical reason for the Internet to require TLDs. They could be eliminated by minor changes to the DNS servers or by a Google-backed service in cohorts with IE and Firefox. The fact that they still exist is purely for business model preservation.

On the other hand, if ICANN wanted to promote and support a more useful and forward-thinking Internet, they could advance research on how TLDs might actually be useful in a global society. Never mind… it’s all about the money.

Jake says:

Re: off topic #2

That is understandable confusion on the part of a non-specialist. It should be obvious to anyone who uses a computer on a regular basis that the Internet is not under any central management, cannot be under any central management that actually works, and probably should not be under any central management.

And I just used a hell of a lot of italics. I think I need a holiday…

Paul Massey says:

Widen the debate

All the talk is of companies buying up these domains to make a quick buck. What about the fact that this offers a great opportunity to do some good, like setting up a fairtrade domain where all revenues flowing through a tld are subject to a fairtrade element which is then administered to charities.

The debate has already been started on Facebook. Please add to to the group here:


JB says:

My Business Plan

I have a business plan for a new TLD, just need someone to supply the technical ability to operate as a registrar.

Here’s the plan:

Start the .sucks tld, then sell domains to every company in the world who are forced to buy for defensive reasons.

Contact me to help build this new business.

Also, need some financing for that $100 – $500K startup investment.


George Riddick (user link) says:

ICANN changes - The fat lady has started to sing

The fat lady has started to sing … did anyone notice?

“Hey, at least we were the world’s superpower during the last Century … let’s not get greedy!”

Let there be no doubt about it. The biggest financial asset this country controls, by far, is the English language. We do not own the language, but we control its use in a certain way all around the world.

How? Because our language, and our alphabet, has been the standard that has been used throughout the first two stages of the Internet over the past 18 years. What, these days, is more dominant and valuable than the Internet?

But all of that is about to change. The Internet in entering into “round three”. Round three will see more changes in three years then we have seen in total in the first eighteen. Significantly more.

The most important international business meeting of this century, and probably of the last century as well, took place in Paris this past week. It got surprisingly little press coverage.

Do you know what it was all about and how it is likely going to impact your life?

Can’t you hear the fat lady singing in the background?

Everything is about to change. It will change the way we eat, the way we communicate, the way we drive, the number of children we have, the way we travel, the vacations we take, who wins the Super Bowl, and the way we interact with each other. It will change EVERYTHING. Including the balance of economic power we have become used to for the past 80+ years.

Last week, ICANN, the non-profit organization that governs the Internet, after years and years of debate, officially opened up the Internet to everyone on the planet. They voted overwhelmingly to implement a system that could double or triple the number of web sites and domain properties in existence and how we get to them from anywhere around the world. They gave a huge edge to large corporations and government entities, but what law have you seen in the past ten years that didn’t further shift this wealth equation around the world?

The widening gap between the world’s haves and the have-nots has been accelerated once again. Wait and see.

In short, Microsoft, Ford, and Google can now (starting next April) register domains and web sites with their own monopolized domain suffix and extension, such as http://www.indianfood.microsoft, http://www.explorer.ford, and http://www.power.google. No more “.com”, “.de” (for Germany) or “.net” needed. So can counties, cities and states, such as http://www.porn.newyorkcity, http://www.mormons.utah, or http://www.peaches.georgia.

Any small business or individual Internet user out there that thinks this is good news should think again. This could, in fact, be the end of fair play and parity in cyberspace. “Beware the empires with the largest space ships!”

This is good news for the emerging economies around the world, however. The US of A doesn’t fit into that category. In fact, China and India, alone, if they continue their current rates of economic growth, will control over 50% of the world’s GNP in not so many years. It’s staggering to think of all the possible consequences.

Add to that the fact that ICANN also approved the development of new Internet addresses in languages other than English. If 1.5 billion people in China speak Chinese, and the Internet is offered up to them in Chinese, what percentage of them do you think will choose to use the non-English option? What will THAT shift, alone, do to the current balance of economic power? And don’t forget all of the folks who speak Portuguese down there in Brazil.

John McCain has not mentioned this (he claims to know what the Internet is from what I hear him say). Barack Obama has not said a word (he is being advised by one of the most outspoken “everything on the Internet should be free” advocates this country has ever seen). Unless this has something to do registering a new “.crawford” domain address, you will not likely hear a peep about it from either George Bush or Dick Cheney over the next seven months … let alone Connie.

And now that Tim Russert and George Carlin have passed, you will not likely find anyone ballsy enough to even ask the tough questions over the remainder of this decade. By then, it will far too late.

Wake up America. We have lost manufacturing dominance forever. China has won the battle over the earth’s natural resources, and has its eye on space as well. We have lost customer service dominance to India and the islands within the last decade. We practically encourage other countries to steal our intellectual property so that we can lose dominance in the creative industries soon, as well.

We dominate one thing and one thing only these days. We still dominate the majority of the content that is delivered over the Internet. Until last week, we also dominated free speech and our future.

I know how to fix this problem. But I’m learning this new game as well. Someone is going to have to pay me big bucks to get me to talk. Are you listening, China? How about you, Google?


George P. Riddick, III
Imageline, Inc.



Cornelius Korley Amartey says:

Good news at last!

Thank God! And thank you for this article. I have been searching for one for long. For years, i’ve also been looking for an opportunity to dribble out new top level domains (TLDs — such as .info, .biz, .aero, etc.

But can you help me get a credible buyer or partner of my yet-to-be-registered and yet-to-be-made-public TLDs?
Better still, i think you can be a good partner.

From Cornelius Korley Amartey in Ghana.

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