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ICANN Considers Single Letter Domains 314

* * Beatles-Beatles writes "...as the Internet's key oversight agency considers lifting restrictions on the simplest of names. In response to requests by companies seeking to extend their brands, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will chart a course for single-letter Web addresses as early as this weekend, when the ICANN board meets in Vancouver, British Columbia. Those names could start to appear next year."
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ICANN Considers Single Letter Domains

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  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:17AM (#14138301) Homepage Journal
    This posting brought to you by the domains "F" and "U".
  • by Nightreaver ( 695006 ) <lau,l&uritzen,dk> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:17AM (#14138311) Homepage
    So MX on these domains won't be very useful?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:17AM (#14138316)
    He's going to post all Beatles Beatles stories to spite us.
  • Only 26 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mysqlrocks ( 783488 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:18AM (#14138319) Homepage Journal
    With only 26 available they should fetch a hefty price and be accessible to only the wealthy. Great.
    • Re:Only 26 (Score:4, Informative)

      by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:27AM (#14138443)
      no, there are 26 letters, times the major .whatevers There's .com, .net, .org, .info, then the ones that go by country, like .co.uk or .de That makes for a lot more than 26 possibilities, but you are correct that relative to the internet as a whole, it's not a lot of domains.
      • Re:Only 26 (Score:4, Funny)

        by chris_eineke ( 634570 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:59AM (#14138764) Homepage Journal
        Consider http://k.de/ [k.de] :P
      • Re:Only 26 (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:59AM (#14138766)
        Actually it's less than you might think....

        gTLDs - .com .edu .gov .int .mil .net and .org

        Of those, only the .com, .net and .org are 'open' for registration so that gives you 3 x 26 = 78

        Then you've got the new TLDs; .biz .info .name .pro .aero .coop and .museum

        Of those 3 are sponsored (.aero .coop and .museum) so the policies regarding registration are at the discretion of the sponsor. That leaves 4 more TLDs under the control of ICANN as far as policies go. We're up to 7 x 26 = 182

        Then there are the ccTLDs; .ac .ad .ae .af .ag. .ai .al .an ......... .za .zm .zw

        But the ccTLDs are under the control of a delegated agent in the country involved and the policies are once again at the discretion of the delegated agent. You've just lost the 240 x 26 which would have really bulked out those numbers.

        Oh, and then you have to take away the 6 existing one letter domain names which leaves us with a grand total of new 'approved by ICANN' one letter domains of;

        (7 x 26) - 6 = 176

        So it's not that many....
    • With only 26 available they should fetch a hefty price and be accessible to only the wealthy. Great.

      Damn ... I knew I should have picked up Chinese as my second language....

      • With only 26 available they should fetch a hefty price and be accessible to only the wealthy. Great.

        Damn ... I knew I should have picked up Chinese as my second language

        Only the 26 letters of the English alphabet are usable in domain names AFAIK. Letters from foreign alphabets (and ideographs from languages that use those, such as Chinese) are invalid characters.

    • If they do letters, they will probably do numbers as well. That's 10 more options for each TLD.
    • With only 26 available they should fetch a hefty price and be accessible to only the wealthy.

      3. Profit!!!

      It all makes sense now.
    • So are large diamonds and top of the line cars, your point being?
      • My point is that if they were going to make these domain names available they should have done it from the very beginning or not at all. It's as if (as the article points out) Central Park suddenly became available for land development. Granted only the wealthy can afford to live near Central Park as it is but that market has developed over time - not suddenly been opened up. Where are the profits from the sale of these domain names going? One could argue that the Internet (like Central Park) belongs to the
  • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:19AM (#14138329) Homepage Journal
    how.r.u ?

    This could .b confusing, .a?
  • tinyurl? (Score:4, Funny)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquar ... SD.com minus bsd> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:19AM (#14138331) Homepage Journal
    does this put tinyurl out of business?
  • ....Gone before mere mortals can say click!
  • by putko ( 753330 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:21AM (#14138362) Homepage Journal
    I don't get why single letter domain names are so wonderful.

    Nor do I see why they had to get held back (mostly -- just check the list) until now.

    Does anybody really want the letter 'j'? What does that mean? Is it really worth big bucks?

    I would guess that at some point you won't have domains, but some sort of searching facility -- e.g. a bunch of tags. At that point, the name won't really matter, and you probably won't want to remember most of them.

    E.g. your microwave will have the IP: 123.223.3.123.43....
    But you'll look it up on your keychain device, or do a search for "Me" "microwave" to get the magic number.

    And your living rooms light switches address will be ...
    and so on -- everything will have an IP, but you won't be able to name all that stuff anyway.
  • by under_score ( 65824 ) <mishkin.berteig@com> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:23AM (#14138391) Homepage
    Would the single letter domains allow for international characters? This would be a cool way of reducing the contention for the English/Roman single letters. The article didn't mention this, but it seems to me like it may be possible already given the IDN standards [wikipedia.org].
    • AFAIK, the standard for representing international characters in a hostname is via IDNA encoding (see RFC3490 [faqs.org]) which maps international characters to ascii characters. It looks like name components in this spec have to begin with ascii "xn--", so a single international character domain name would be at least a 5 character ascii domain name which may already be allowed.

      That said, I'm really not too familiar with this subject at all (I just looked up the RFC) so please someone correct me if I'm wrong...
  • by LithiumX ( 717017 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:23AM (#14138397)
    I actually take the time to read a side-dispute over a submitter's reasons for submitting, then blow it off as something that doesn't really interest me.

    Then suddenly it seems like he's popping up left and right. It's like something out of a low-grade horror movie. To make matters worse, someone nearby keeps blasting Beatles tunes from their cubicle - not even the good ones. I half expect an undead George Harrison to start clawing at my bedroom window tonight.
  • www.w.us (Score:2, Funny)

    by digitaldc ( 879047 ) *
    The wuss domain was already claimed by an unknown US government official with a speech impediment and delusions of grandeur.
  • by rebug ( 520669 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:26AM (#14138439)
    Does anyone actually respect ICANN anymore?

  • So wrong ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kope ( 11702 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:28AM (#14138462)
    The point of domain name hierarchy, as ICANN has forgotten, was to organize information into identifyable categories to make it easier for people to find what they want.

    Now, I will grant that with the advent of search engines, this is far less of an issue than it was 20 years ago.

    Still, the domain name conventions are NOT about corporations "extending their branding." It's about organizing the ip space into human-readable and human-understandable segments. Single letter domain names do nothing to further that purpose.

    It's a bad idea not because of any technical limitations but merely because it is bowing to corporate pressures in the governance of the last arena in the world where people have more power than the companies.
    • Unless they go for Unicode, 26 letters plus 10 digits ("1.com") times 14 top-level domains (com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org, .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop, and .museum) gives you only 504 unique possiblities. 540 if they include .xxx when the US stops being a Christian Fundamentalist Republic.

      If you multiply that by the number of country codes (248) you still get only 133920 unique addresses.

      Regardless their misguided motivation, it will be funny to see Microsoft, McDonald's and Motorol
    • ...companies can "buy" legislation, is this really a surprise?

      I'm sure the corporations see this as nothing more than the Internet "finally catching up" to the real world.

      And, I agree, that's disturbing as hell...
    • BURN ALL TLD's (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Wellspring ( 111524 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @01:12PM (#14139484)
      Blech!

      Personally, I think we don't need TLD's anymore. The idea that an independent system should be vetting the .org-ness of an institution (especially in places or countries where the divisions of non-profits, government, and corporate are either non-existent or irrelevant) is to me unnecessary. The internet isn't about "defending the people" or picking winners and losers, it's about an open, largely unregulated system for connecting networks. The moment you go down the road of choosing policies and standards based on protecting or fostering one group over another, you'll never stop.

      Ultimately, I think that if I could alter the domain name system, I'd burn all TLD's. Most groups register the .com / .org / .net equivalents anyway. Is slashdot a .org or a .com? Just for example. Why not go to http://cocacola/ [cocacola] and be done with it?

      However, I can see the logic of reserving 2 letter codes for countries. After all, they have the guns and decide the laws. I don't know what 1 letter domains could be used for, but I'd prefer that they not be allocated yet either (for future use, perhaps). Selling 26*n (where n == number of TLDs at any moment) domain names isn't really worth the headache of changing the rules, and they could come in handy later.

      Of course, then the job of the registrar becomes much more administrative. So odds of ICANN actually doing this are slim --> none.
      • Re:BURN ALL TLD's (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gfreeman ( 456642 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:39PM (#14140864)
        Why not go to http://cocacola/ [cocacola] and be done with it?

        Because it would be confusing if you wanted to tell someone to go to that site, e.g.

        You: "Go to aitch tee tee pee colon slash slash cocacola"
        Them: "Sorry, I fell asleep halfway through that. Hmm?"


        as opposed to current usage,

        You: "Go to cocacola dot com"

        It's the "dot com" bit that tells everyone that you are talking about a website, because no-one I know uses the redundant "aitch tee tee pee colon slash slash" bit in normal chat. Of course you could say "visit our website, it's cocacola" but you'd have to do that everytime you refer to the cocacola website rather than the soft drink. Imagine business meetings in the soft drink industry.

        Q: "Have you seen cocacola recently?"
        A: "What, the website or the company?"


        Something needs to distinguish the brand from the domain, because until now, the context has been quite clear whether you are referring to a name, a brand, a site, or the product. Drop the "dot com" and it starts to get confusing.
    • Re:So wrong ... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PMuse ( 320639 )
      The point of domain name hierarchy, as ICANN has forgotten, was to organize information into identifyable categories to make it easier for people to find what they want. . . . It's about organizing the ip space into human-readable and human-understandable segments.

      All due respect to our founding coders, but the notion that we could classify all human endeavor according to a taxomonmy based on the categories educational, government, military, commercial, network, organization, or country was naive and arroga
  • A new record? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:30AM (#14138473)
    Two **Beatles-Beatles stories on the front page at once? You guys might wnat to consider hiring him, he's clearly a journalistic power house. (Assuming he isn't already on the payroll, that is)
    • Actually, I see three "journalistic power house" stories on the front page at the moment:
      this one, "Microsoft Receives Open Source VIP Blessing" and "Introverts Have More Brain Activity?"
    • This is the second time today two of his were on the front page, and earlier wasn't the first time either. I suggest we all visit his George Harrison tribute site, there's lots of material there that would take literally seconds to collect on the rest of the web, and lots of useful links to boot...
    • Re:A new record? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:00PM (#14138773)
      (Assuming he isn't already on the payroll, that is)

      I think you mean, assuming Slashdot isn't already on his payroll.

    • Re:A new record? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:01PM (#14138792)
      Two **Beatles-Beatles stories on the front page at once? You guys might wnat to consider hiring him, he's clearly a journalistic power house. (Assuming he isn't already on the payroll, that is)

      Actually, its 3 in 24 hours. Take a looke here: http://slashdot.org/~*%20*%20Beatles-Beatles [slashdot.org]

      Its also nuts that this guy has already gotten his karma bumped up. I don't know how much accepted stories raises your karma, but this guy is brand new and has only posted a handful of comments.

      Plus the George Harrison site that he is pumping really looks like it sucks. I've heard that he is a search engine optimizer or something. Don't really know what is going on here.
  • by SecureTheNet ( 915798 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:35AM (#14138516) Homepage
    ...this does not open up top level domains, like .a or .b This is a proposal to open up something like a.com or b.com.

    Yes, I realize there are a few out there, www.X.org comes to mind. Most of the single letter domains are registered to:

    [whois.iana.org]

    IANA Whois Service
    Domain: c.com
    Name: IANA_RESERVED

    The article also states that IANA started reserving these in 1993, but the whois record for x.org shows it was created in 1997.
  • by spyrral ( 162842 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:36AM (#14138521) Journal
    When they started pushing .mobi as the mobile TLD, I thought they were joking. Type MORE letters on my phone? A .m TLD (and really, any of the other single letter TLDs) is a much better choice.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:36AM (#14138522)
    If you think, "Hey, take a chance in the lottery and sell it for six figures aftewards," forget it now. The big companies are beating out the small guy and the Internet ideal of First Come, First Served -- FIFO in Geek terms -- of rewarding the agile thinker doesn't exist any more. Corporate sluggishness and immense political contributions have squashed it.

    How have they beaten you to the punch? For example, Yahoo has already trademarked "Y.COM". Even if you get www.y.com, they simply take it away for you for free as the "trademark owner," and brand you as a criminal cyber-squatter in the process.

    Oh, and btw, have a nice day!

  • Intellectual property is created by fiat. I'd say in this case it should be ruled that single letters aren't distinctive enough to be used as the 'net equivalent of a trademark.

    Besides, if these clowns say single characters ARE appropriate, and then some trademark office somewhere lest some company trademark the dot (as in "The Dot in Dot Com," anyone?) we'd all be POOCHED.

  • First dupe post fromt he future -

    November 29th, 2006

    Today ICANN announced that they will free up single-digit domains. They expect to make millions off the sale of the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
    <p>When asked for comment about ICANN's new single-digit policy, one slashdotter said "Let them sit on THIS single digit and rotate!"
    Of course, 1 is going to go for big bucks - "We're #1".
    7 also - "Lucky us".
    Avis will buy #2 - "We're #2 - we try harder"
    3 will be bought out as a business portal - "3's company"
    4 will be some scam - "trust us - we work 4 u" - or some golf site - "fore!"
    9 will be sold to some kraut anti-drug campaign - "just say 9/nein"
    8 will go to weight-watchers or slimfast - "8 too much?"
    5 will go to whoever looses the bid for 1 - they''ll then say "5 - we're the quintiscential site" or some other loser shit
    6 will go to an online redneck pharmacy - "when you'se feeling six as a dawg, order your meds from 6.com"
    0, of course, will be the big one. The BIGGEST sex portal - "come to 0.com - because you can't get any lower than us"

    Remember - watch for it next year

    tt

  • why? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:42AM (#14138582) Homepage Journal
    Well, I guess the real question is: How much did 3.com pay them?
  • Beatles (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LlamaGui ( 922905 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:45AM (#14138606)
    I'm recycling a comment from another AC in another Scuttlemonkey/**Beatles-Beatles post. This guy's getting worse than Roland Picklepail: Am I the only person who has noticed the numerous stories that get posted by *--Beatles-Beatles? Am I also the only person who has noticed that the link used in is name is a constantly changing URL (depending on the story) with pointers to various scammy sites? Is it not obvious what he's doing? He's using the awesome PageRank of slashdot do promote his sites based on searches that have the word Beatles in them. It's a small price to pay for free advertising. Find a story, summarize it in 5 minutes, post to slashdot, and get a pagerank boost that advertisers would pay hundreds (or maybe thousands) for. (Text links on high-ranking sites is big business - just ask oreilly). Slashdot should at least put a ref=nofollow in the links to submitters (or better yet, only link the submitter's name to his/her user page). In closing, a quick bit of WHOIS shows that all the sites linked by **B-B are registered to Carl Fogle. Carl, cut this crap out.
  • Thank god! (Score:3, Funny)

    by merc ( 115854 ) <slashdot@upt.org> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:46AM (#14138619) Homepage
    By the time I get to the 'o' in c-o-m, my fingers are about plumbt-tuckered out!
  • I'm betting the domains x.y and x.x will be highly sought after in the lucrative gay dating site market.
  • I suppose the largest companies could register these in reference to their stock symbol, and put all their financial information on it. See Citicorp (NYSE: C). They could register http://www.c.com./ [www.c.com] Other notables are Ford (NYSE: F) and Kellogg (NYSE: K).

    But yeah. That's all I could come up with.

  • "ya i can remember when domain names made sence, and you could easily find a company or a library.. And could identify off the bat if it was a not for profit entity.."

    what is next, random characters of random length?
  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:55AM (#14138712)
    Beatles-Beatles, AKA Carl Fogle, is using /. to boost his search-engine jigging company. By hosting gerorge-harrison.info and then getting /. to link to it, and therefore lots of other sites to mirror that link, he is boosting that domain's search ranking (he's up to #10 on Google for "George Harrison"). He can then point his prospective clients to this success when pitching to them for their business.

    TWW

  • was that someone, once and for all, wanted to get rid of the C in the goatse URL.

  • Only 26 remaining. $9.95/yr. Be the first cybersquatter to own them all.
  • Here is another idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chris_eineke ( 634570 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:39PM (#14139139) Homepage Journal
    Two actually. Two heretic ideas:

    (1) Reverse the DNS order (e.g. http://aol.www/ [aol.www])
    (2) Get rid of TLDs, make everything up for grabs, and force at least two domain combinations

    this makes stuff like

    http://microsoft.msdn/ [microsoft.msdn]
    http://gnu.linux/ [gnu.linux]
    http://debian.sarge/ [debian.sarge]
    http://gentoo.linux/ [gentoo.linux]

    possible. Imagine the possibilities!

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