Did you ever wonder about the online domain names and how they are managed? Well, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) coordinates the Domain Name System (DNS), Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name systems, and more.
Those familiar generic top-level Internet domains are going to expand soon, perhaps as soon as 2013. The original list from the 1980’s consisted of seven domain names: .com, .edu, .net, .org, .gov, .mil, and .int). This isn’t the first time the list has expanded; 15 new TLDs have been introduced since 1990, including .xxx (you may have heard of some controversy around that one), but 8 are “sponsored” or sTLDs, and restricted. But the upcoming expansion is going to be much larger. The opportunity to apply for a new gTLD ran from January through May 2012, and the list of applied-for gTLD strings is now publicly available.In the next 12-24 months there will be a period for filing objections to the proposed gTLDs, followed by a period for resolving disputes. In cases where more than one party applying for the same string survive the dispute process, there will be an auction. For example, L’Oréal applied for .loreal as well as .hair and .beauty, but others applied for .hair and .beauty.
If you scan the list you’ll see that several (307!) were applied for by Daniel Schindler of Donuts, a web registry that was created to take advantage of this expansion. You can read the article “Donuts’ startup lands $100 million for dot-brand domains” (CNNMoney, June 5, 2012) that explains Donuts’ plans, and tells you the amount of money these gTLD applications cost. Let’s just say I won’t be applying for my own gTLD if they ever have another round of applications.
Why might this impact us? Well, one way to quickly see what type of site you are reading is the gTLD, and that can help you assess how trustworthy it is. A .gov site is lot more trustworthy than .com. Internet searching can be enhanced by limiting results to certain domains too, which could get more interesting if the domains expand greatly. Are you curious about the content in some of the domains in use now? You can search either Bing or Google for site:gTLD, e.g., site:.aero.
You also can read more about this if you are interested. More of an explanation of the gTLDs is available from the ICANNWiki. Search Andersen Library’s article databases to find articles such as “Internationalization and Expansion of Web Addresses” (Online, 2011, vol.35:no.6, pp.44-46) and “Rockefeller, NTIA, IGOs Urge Caution on gTLD Expansion” (2012, Telecommunications Reports, vol.78:no.2, pp.37-38). You can read online the Federal Trade Commission’s concerns about increased fraud as a result of the expansion. Search HALCAT to find materials such as testimony by a senior vice president of ICANN at a hearing before the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives on May 4, 2011: ICANN generic top-level domains (gTLD).
Please ask a librarian for assistance with finding materials, if needed.
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