Should ICANN Dump The Idea Of Generic Top Level Domains?

from the yes-or-no dept

For years, we've scolded ICANN for its bizarre policies when it came to new top level domains (TLD) (the things like .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info etc.). For the most part, the whole process seemed like a big money grab, where each new TLD was being introduced not because of any need, but because it would generate extra cash. Take, for example, the creation of the .jobs domain. It's designed to be the place where people can go to find job openings for a company. As if it wasn't easy enough to either go to the site directly and look for the "jobs" link, or to do a quick Google search (though, we must admit to an adolescent snicker, when someone recently pointed out that RIM had amazingly signed up for the unfortunately named

On the whole, though, there seemed to be no legitimate reason for dribbling out TLDs in this manner. If the world needed more TLDs, why not open the process up entirely, and let people use whatever TLD made the most sense. Last year, it looked like it was making a step in that direction, by announcing plans to offer such generic TLDs, but at the astronomical price of somewhere between $100,000 and $500,000. So, once again, it was all about the money grab, rather than anything useful.

However, with overwhelming opposition to the idea of super high priced generic TLDs, ICANN has delayed the entire project and some are wondering if ICANN should drop the idea entirely. Personally, it still seems like the real plan should be not to do away with generic TLDs entirely, but to just open up the system, so that any TLD can be used, but that you can register for one at the regular domain price, rather than one that's many orders of magnitude higher.

Filed Under: generic, icann, top level domains

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  1. identicon
    diesel mcfadden, 9 Jun 2009 @ 1:20am

    It's also hard to get away from the money issue when the whole issue of organic traffic, google ranking and mental real estate have a direct correlation to money.

    There are already distortions all over the place.'s recent sale price could easily be justified by the guaranteed #1 ranking it will have in google (saving hundreds of thousands per year in AdWords). .com as default also leads to hundreds of thousands of visits for "free" per month as the word candy typed into the address bar leads to candy.COM

    I also don't see how you would administer a free-for-all set of TLDs.
    It seems to me that the whole point of a high cost for "registering" a TLD is to make sure an organization is serious about maintaining it. If the idea is to let anyone claim running of a TLD at a similar cost level to registering a domain, that doesn't seem to change the underlying ICANN concept, only to invite chaos.

    If the idea is to set up ONE super TLD owner to administer all untaken gTLDs,
    and let anyone register for anything in that pool, while that would address one facet of the administration problem, it would overall be worse as among other problems, complete randomness in registrations results in completely meaningless TLDs (say what you will about the others, .org, .edu, and some of the country TLDs still have meaning) leading us straight back to .com again.

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