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By Thomas Baekdal - March 2009

Do we need more domains?

Every single year, ICANN have a meeting, and on the agenda is 'what new top level domains should we introduce'. And every single year a number of groups propose their own top-level domains. For instance, Al Gore, along with some Hollywood celebrities, are proposing .eco. But do we really need new domains?

Here is the thing. I manage about 140 domains. Out of all these domains, only 11 is active. The rest are different top-level variations that I have bought in order to protect my online identity. E.g. I own baekdal.com, baekdal.info, baekdal.org, baekdal.net, baekdal.biz, baekdal.mobi, baekdal.dk, thomasbaekdal.com, thomasbaekdal.me etc.

I purchased all these domains, because I didn't want anyone else to create another 'baekdal' site. Baekdal is my brand (and my name), and I want to protect that.

Even if you aren't at risk from competitors, you still need to purchase extra domains to protect yourself from criminals, phishers, and people who are intent on hurting your business.

E.g. someone bought baekdal.cn (China), after they tried to blackmail me into buying it for a ridicules price. I chose to ignore them, and they then registered the domain and is now 'keeping it hostage'.

Note: I don't need baekdal.cn, so I don't really care.

It is the same with all the big companies. Coca Cola owns every single top-level domain there is. Not because they use them, but because they have to protect their brand.

This is the big problem with top-level domains. There is no protection against fraud, or attack on your online identity. So if ICANN decides to approve .eco, almost everyone is being forced to buy it. Not because they really need it and not because they are going to focus on the environment. They are being forced to buy it because they have to protect their brand.

We do not need more top level domains, at least, not until the problem with fraud and digital identity have been solved. We do not need to be forced to pay even more money for domains we really do not want.

Note: This problem is getting even bigger after ICANN recently proposed that anyone could create a new top-level domain (for a ridicules price). We are now facing a ton of new top-level domain, each controlled by small groups of people, or even individuals. Something that in my opinion is the most ridicules idea yet.

Let's do the opposite

Instead of introducing more top-level domains, let's annihilate them. Flip the domain/DNS structure, and link it to the trademark system. Like this:

This means that Coca Cola, can buy 'cocacola' as their domain. And everything after that is simply their sub-domain.

E.g.

What you buy then is two things.

Which means that you pay a one-time fee to secure your digital identity, for... say $500. And then you pay a yearly fee for all the domains + subdomains settings you might need. For... say $0.99/year.

Example - my personal domains:

This works on many levels:

In short, this completely eliminates all the problems with being forced to buy domains, simply because you have to protect your brand. It reduces the administration to a minimum. It is vastly more flexible, and the cost is based on real world usage, not 'fake' administration.

The future role of ICANN

This, of course, radically changes the role of ICANN. Today they are concerned with the structure and variations of domains i.e. The top-level-domains. But since this eliminates the top-level domain, and replaces it with only a single level (your digital identity), ICANN needs to change too.

They will still be an organization dedicated to 'keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable', but instead of putting all their work into policies, and coordination of the internet naming system, they will have to take on the role of defining domain standards.

They will be the ones who will define the standards for sub-domain usage. Creating the guidelines for what each sub-domain should contain.

For example, That the sub-domain .museum, is for museums, with an outline of what constitutes a museum. That .mobile is for mobile sites. That .france is for sites localized to the public in France. They would either set the standards themselves, or outsource these things to other responsible parties.

The big difference is, however, that they are guidelines, not policies.

What do you think?

What do you think? Could this work. Would this solve the growing problem with ever increasing number of top-domains?

Is there a better way?

Also read: Your Unique Identity

 
 
 

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé

 

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