Yesterday ICANN – the non-profit stewards of the internet domain name system – announced a long-anticipated decision to let anyone apply to become owners of new top level domains ( TLDs). The top level domains are the last characters in a web address or e-mail address; that is, the characters that go after the final period. The most famous, of course, is .com. Now, the floodgates will be opened.
That means, theoretically, I could own .bloglawblog, allowing me to make my web address bloglawblog.bloglawblog. But that’s very theoretical. Why? Because it’s expensive. Very expensive. An estimated $185,000 to register a TLD.
And I don’t want .bloglawblog that bad.
What this means for most bloggers and citizen journalists, is that they will not have the opportunity get a TLD for themselves. But, they will the exciting opportunity to be placed under siege by profiteers and cybersquatters.
For instance, when applications are accepted in January 2012, you can bet some company will apply to own .blog. Then, that company will soon write to you, saying,
Hello friend! We’ve noticed that you own a blog called Kentucky Trainspotters, and that your domain is kentuckytrainspottersblog.com. For just $500 per year, you can get the kentuckytrainspotters.blog domain!
And if you don’t, we’ll sell it to someone else.
You don’t want that to happen, do you?
For this and many other reasons I won’t go into, I think this stinks. And I’m certainly not alone as a critic.
ICANN is talking about how this will usher in a new era on the internet. That’s silly. The internet is about the content, not the addresses. But it certainly may usher in a new era of headaches. Thanks, ICANN.
- Thomas Claburn on InformationWeek: ICANN’s Domain Name Plan Could Spell Trouble
- Eric Savitz on Forbes: Attention, Cyber-Squatters! ICANN Expands Web Domains