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.