I’ve been annoyed with the domain registration system ever since it became de rigueur to register any name under (at least)
.com, .net, and .org. My coworkers are probably tired of my occasional rants about it.
Originally (in theory), the various top-level domain (TLD) names were used to distinguish the classes of entities that registered domains: .com for business; .org for non-profit organizations; .net for network infrastructure businesses; .edu for educational institutions; and later the addition of .biz, .pro, .info, .name, ….
With the exponential growth of the web, it became harder, and more controversial, to make these distinctions. For their own “protection”, entities began registering names under multiple TLDs. Typically, one would be chosen as the “real” name and the others would simply be aliases for or redirect to the real domain. One of the few useful distinctions I’ve seen is .com and .org being used to distinguish the commercial and FOSS parts of an entity.
The proliferation of TLDs is basically a way for registrars to mint money.
A new era in the way websites are named was ushered in yesterday [June 26] when the governing body for internet domain names announced a massive liberalisation. The body that oversees the internet’s structure yesterday approved a “land grab” for new web addresses that will allow people to apply for any top-level domain name […] Icann is not being forced to act because of there are not enough name options, but because it wants to open up the system to increase consumer choice. —Mike Harvey and Jonathan Richards, Icann set to spark internet land grab, Times Online
“Consumer choice”? Riiiight.
I’ve already ranted about Network Solutions once today. But here’s another example of this “minting” I’m talking about. They don’t even need a new TLD. The following (with some reformatting) is taken from an email solicitation I received from them a few days ago.
Is the .com domain name you want taken? Get the domain name you’ve always wanted with .us.com — the .com alternative! With a .us.com domain name extension you can:
Protect your brand | Help prevent unauthorized use of your trademarks and licensed names.
Drive traffic to your existing site | Register the .us.com extension and forward traffic to your main Web site.
Expand your reach on the Web | Increase your brand recognition and help potential customers find you more easily.
“The .com alternative”? Riiiight.