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ICANN Proposes New Way To Buy Top-Level Domains 198

narramissic writes "Late last week, ICANN put up for comment a new top-level domain (TLD) proposal that would open up the market for generic TLDs on the Internet, basically allowing anyone with $185,000 to buy a new TLD. ICANN has based the cost of a generic TLD on what it believes will be the cost to evaluate applications and protect the organization against risk, said Paul Levins, ICANN's executive officer and vice president for corporate affairs. Any excess money would be redistributed based on the wishes of the Internet community, he said. As of late Tuesday, there were only a couple of comments on the proposal."
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ICANN Proposes New Way To Buy Top-Level Domains

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  • Yes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:21PM (#25558713) Homepage Journal

    Now I can finally register clownpenis.fart !

    • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:24PM (#25558773)

      Good luck. I predict a fierce bidding war for .fart.

      • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:34PM (#25558913) Journal

        In all seriousness, we have enough ghetto TLDs already...Shelling out 200k for a TLD that may languish in obscurity forever sounds like a risky proposition.

        The only real use I see for it is for sites that are forced to register massive numbers of subdomains: having your own TLD would give you a lot of flexibility in that situation. Otherwise? I'm just not getting it.

        • by morcego ( 260031 )

          .ibm ? .microsoft ? .google ?

          We will be seeing a lot of those if it gets approved.

          URL address will keep reminding us of bitnet domains ... Geez.

        • by impaledsunset ( 1337701 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @03:49PM (#25559967)

          Many of us have named many of their local machines with a short name having no dots. Maybe as many use have a search setup for their local domain. So what happens if I happen to have a local machine named "tube", and someone decides to register the "tube" TLD and puts an A record on it, which he most likely will -- after all, if you owned a TLD, wouldn't you put your website there?

          You got it right, a big mess. And that's just the first thing that comes to mind that open TLD registration might disturb.

          I don't have any problem with TLDs being a mess. There is no way to put such a big system as the world DNS in good order and keep it tidy, and after you are used to it, it doesn't make much difference. It might even be better, or at least no worse, than it would have been if there were strict rules about who and what.

          However, opening the main namespace for open registration sounds to me like a bad idea. That's a big no-no for me. Especially when it is everyone's main domain namespace, and we are already using it excessivly for a lot of stuff.

          The good thing is that the impact wouldn't be that big as, while many companies could afford a TLD of that price, I hope there won't be a huge rush for registrations, and honestly, I don't have any boxes named 'ms' and 'ibm', and even if I have, renaming one or two wouldn't be much a trouble.

          But even then, this shouldn't be allowed. At all.

        • I see pro sports leagues eating this up...,,,, etc.
      • Re:Yes! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Warll ( 1211492 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:39PM (#25559003) Homepage
        You think .fart is going to be a bidding war? Anyone what to guess what .sex is going to go for?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nine-times ( 778537 )

        On the subject of bidding wars, how will they handle multiple applications for the same TLD. Will it be an auction? (no I will not RTFA)

        And beyond that, what if a TLD is determined to have value far exceeding $185k? Maybe that seems like a strange question, but it just seems like giving a private organization permanent control over TLDs is a system that might need to be overthrown or subverted in the future.

        But maybe that's just me thinking funny things. I do think there's something disturbing about th

        • by RustinHWright ( 1304191 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @03:19PM (#25559607) Homepage Journal
          Your points bring up another two.

          Firstly, ICANN doesn't do all that they should now to "manage" domains and if they're going to add more, then they should do a more honest job of determining the level of service they will commit to for what is, let's face it, a discretionary option. Nobody NEEDS their own TLD. This is about things that are optional. That being the case, isn't it long past time that ICANN committed to having some sort of effective system to address, for example, claimjumping? I lost a domain a few years back because I was in the hospital for two months, in and out of conciousness for several weeks of that, and yet some fucker has been able to come in and take my domain, use it only to get traffic on the subjects I used it for, and my host provider and everybody else I talk to says that basically I'm screwed. Where the hell is ICANN at a time like this?
          Afaict, from the first ten pages or so of TFA, the only costs they assess are those of reviewing and processing the application, which is not how any rational organization would approximate them, Even after the application, there will be costs of some sort to maintain the damned thing and afaic, for something this discretionary they should set the bar higher and commit to providing better service, service that costs money, services like domain ownership arbitration, and then estimate the total costs to incorporate that level of service.

          In another point, from spagetti suppers at smalltown churches to sale of air rights by private schools, there is nothing unusual about a non-profit treating sale of non-essential goods as a profit opportunity. The term "non-profit" is an oversimplification, as anybody who has gone around selling candy for their sports team knows. We know that some people would pay tens of millions for their own TLD and we know that nobody NEEDS their own TLD so why shouldn't they charge at least a few million each?
          • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @04:49PM (#25560805) Homepage

            "Where the hell is ICANN at a time like this? "

            That is nothing to do with ICANN's mandate, which is purely technical administration. You have a legal problem. Icann doesn't do anything about spam or ponies because they're not technical issues. Instead Icann focuses on, um trademark stuff which the government thinks is technical. Plus you're not rich enough for them to care about.

              Now, as for this "we'l do good things with the money" crap. I aint getting fooled again. The NSF directed NSI to retain 33% of all original domain names sales to put into an NSF "intellectual infrastructure" fund. "Intellectual infrastructure" was people and this money was for workshops, research grants and to, in the words of the man who made the fund, "keep the IETF *process* (not the ietf per se) pure".

            Congress appropriated it and gave it to Mike Roberts when he initially captures ICANN, for his useless Internet2 backbone. Never mind companies all over the world paid into that faund.

            Plus, if they want companies to be able to survive risk better, why are they taking 180K from them. How many companies are lest risky cause they gave away 180K for nothing?

            Now if it were me and I wanted to test a TLD I'd proably just tell you guys about it and by morning, of the server was still standing, I'm sure I'd have a pretty good idea what works and what doesn't.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aztracker1 ( 702135 )
          What if it's worth far less? I'd like to see .bbs myself... also, I think a .art TLD is long overdue. I think that .bbs, .art and .blog are some that are probably important to bring into the fold...
      • Re:Yes! (Score:4, Funny)

        by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @03:53PM (#25560035) Journal

        A mysterious Nigerian benefactor has offered to transfer the entire .spam TLD to me. I'll receive 10% of everything, and all I need to do is transfer a few personal details to him...

    • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Funny)

      by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:58PM (#25559285) Homepage
      ICANN has .cheezburger?
  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:24PM (#25558753)
    Slashdot takes the piss by setting its new homepage at aich-tee-tee-pee-colon-slash-slash-slash-dot-dot-dot-slashdot. All those going to aich-tee-tee-pee-colon-slash-slash-slashdot-dot-com are redirected to idle.
    ...And will this effect DNS servers that are currently in use? Are there limits to the number of top level domains in their tables?
    • I think you'll find is already possible if you sign up for a domain with Montenegro [], the former Yugoslavian nation ;) All you need to do is be a legal entity (because otherwise it would be something like or

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:26PM (#25558805)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dear idiots that moderated the parent as Offtopic - the story is a dupe. The link is to the original /. posting of the story. Now go email CmdrTaco and tell him you're too stupid to have mod points.

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:30PM (#25558859)
    This is probably a bad idea, but the article tags did suggest a great new TLD: .wtf.
  • by billtom ( 126004 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:31PM (#25558873)

    I hate to be cynical (no, that's a lie, I love to be cynical), but what's the point of commenting on this to ICANN.

    ICANN has proven again and again that they listen to corporations and governments (mostly the American) but really couldn't care less what the general internet users want. Or even what the general internet users need. Sure, they'll put up some superficial show of consulting the community, but it never amounts to much.

    ICANN has been bought and paid for. Really, the only way a normal internet user can comment on ICANN's actions is to take their business elsewhere (ie. alternate DNS roots).

    • I was thinking of that. Is there an alternative DNS base out there?

      Possibly one that propagates the entries of ICANN, but has it's own entries as well?

  • by Yarhj ( 1305397 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:35PM (#25558919)

    This sounds like a pretty bad idea. The first thing that comes to mind is the wholesale registration of TLD's for typosquatting.

    At least they'll be able to register a proper domain: .con

    • That's the only plus I see from the hefty price tag...Maybe the bastards will bankrupt themselves.

    • Actually, the real money is in .corn

      Would you like to download the new google.corn toolbar? Get your updates from microsoft.corn?

      • Wish I could mod you insightful. Things liek this will probably be a very large problem.
    • I predict .corn going for big bucks to squatters.

  • Just fraking stop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 800DeadCCs ( 996359 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:37PM (#25558953)

    Do we have the basic TLDs? yes, stop...
    Does pretty much every country have its own basic TLD? yes, stop...
    whoever came up with this idea, please, stop...
    especially for that low a price... maybe for $1.85 billion, but not $185,000.

    ICANN needs to learn how to play solitaire, maybe then they'd get the reason they're there.
    (hint, it's the first rule of both business and IT... "whatever you do, don't touch it").

    • Fuck. The word is fuck, not frak. This isn't broadcast television. Remember to stress that fricative for best effect!

  • Is how many orders of "herbal viagra" do you need to sell to pull in $185,000 to register .v1agra (or other such clever alternate spelling) to run your spamming operation with no registrar oversight ever again?

    Yes, this is a terrible idea for reasons already brought up. []
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ACMENEWSLLC ( 940904 )

      >>Is how many orders of "herbal viagra" do you need to sell to pull in $185,000 to register .v1agra (or other such clever alternate spelling) to run your spamming operation with no registrar oversight ever again?

      That would be awesome. I'd setup my local BIND servers to think they are the TLD for .v1agra and point it all to I would then block any e-mail coming form @*.v1agra.

      But the majority of spammers wouldn't do this because of how easy it is to block.

      What I can see is a security nigh

      • edit: I want to point out that I uppercased my URIs and /. forced them to lowercase.

      • I would then block any e-mail coming form @*.v1agra.

        Email domains are easily - and frequently - spoofed. What I was trying to get to is that the actual spamvertised domain would be something in a new gTLD (such as .v1agra). Blocking traffic from .v1agra would be useless in this situation, as you'll still see email from some other .com domain which is spamvertising the pretend pharmacy in the new .v1agra domain.

        Sorry if I was not clear on that one. While many people place the blame for spam on the domain from which the spam was sent, I for one prefer to

      • by guruevi ( 827432 )

        The problem with that is, domains without a tld (like apple) might/should be locally resolved.

  • Problem? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord_Sintra ( 923866 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:51PM (#25559193)
    Anyone want to try buying .php, or .exe, just to see what happens?
    • by g0at ( 135364 )

      Anyone want to try buying .php, or .exe, just to see what happens?

      Maybe you should speak to Poland and see how it's worked out for them...

    • Presumably the same thing that happens when you host a file with a TLD as an extension. ie: []

      I figure that can be tried easily enough right now for anyone who has their own domain name. Sadly I don't, but I'd be interested to hear the results from someone who does.
      • by KGIII ( 973947 ) *

        I own way too many domain names but I didn't actually try it. First your server will try to send out the information according to the MIME type as I understand and, finally, baring a specific format it will send it out and the browser will determine what to do with it based on how it thinks it is supposed to respond to that extension. For a while I had .oops as a registered MIME type that would process it as HTML so index.oops would process like a regular web page. That, unfortunately, is not .exe or the li

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NevDull ( 170554 )

      .html might be even more interesting

  • Suffixes FTW! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:52PM (#25559195) Homepage
    I predict a large outpouring of capital to secure any suffix TLD. Just think how companies will clamor to make words out of their URL (see: I am going to buy ".ing" and ".est" and make a fortune!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by clickety6 ( 141178 )

      Hah - I'm going for .sucks

      I'm gonna be rich!

    • Your idea doesn't make sense. Why would .ing or .est be desirable? Rather than renting, say, from you. I'd just buy .anything and be done with it.

      • by Itninja ( 937614 )
        Sure you could, if you had $185K. But for those of us want to start a web-based company (and who aren't trust fund babies), renting great.est or would be a viable alternative.
      • He would sell you for $100, whereas .anything would cost you $185,000.

    • by rhizome ( 115711 )

      I am going to buy ".ing" and ".est" and make a fortune!
      You're thinking small. If you want to know where this "buy your own TLD" thing is going, try thinking not in terms of three-letter domains, but in namespace and branding. How valuable do you think ".disney" would be? This is basically a death-knell for corporations and TLDs. They'll just get their own and eventually, years from now (or not) .com will be seen as downmarket.

      • How valuable do you think ".disney" would be?

        Valuable enough that you would be bludgeoned into submission by a gang of Disney lawyers if you tried to squat it.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 ) *

          I think even Eisner (spelling?) himself would come out with a pair of steel toed shit kickers on just to get a few good cracks into you if you tried. I suspect that the lawyers would be a bit too soft but that Eisner fellow looks as if he'd eagerly kick the shit out of someone in a back alley if he had the chance or reason.

  • Apparently these jokers do not know how valuable a TLD is. $185,000 is all you would charge? This needs to be well north of $185k more like $18 million. I will buy the TLD .xxx for $185K tomorrow and then make somewhere north of $50 MM off everyone else.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This has been thought about more than you give them credit for. See this post of mine here []. There is a quarterly fee they charge.
    • Yep, I'm almost - almost - tempted to get a loan to buy up .xxx or .sex

      • by KGIII ( 973947 ) *

        The problem then is getting people to make use of it. I've been a fan of .xxx as a TLD for a very very long time (since earlier on in the DNS days) and the problem is now that there are existing sites/TLDs so getting them to use an obscure TLD is not going to be easy. If, at the start, ICANN has said that all sexual content (I'd *hate* to be the judge of that) must be on either .xxx or a ccTLD then this would have been much simpler but they didn't and, well, I suspect it is too far after the fact for that v

  • .extort TLDs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NetSettler ( 460623 ) * <> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @03:23PM (#25559651) Homepage Journal

    So what I want is to buy .extort1 as a TLD for 180K and then basically open up shop so anyone who wants to get but can't afford it can get foo.extort1 instead. This means the owner of the name foo will have to pay me to keep their brand pure, since they'll want to own foo.extort1. Then when I need more cash, I can make a .extort2 and start selling foo again as foo.extort2 unless foo again pays me to hold their brand.

    Well, ok, so probably .extort1 won't sound so good and no one will want to visit it so the foo owner may not care. But if foo is a brand of shoes and I buy a .shoes or a .clothes or a .footwear or a .america or a .united-states or a .united-states-of-america or a .english-speaking or even nuisance names like .go or .yes or .buy or .super or .comm then there are going to be lots of opportunities to extort the owner of over and over and over.

    And to whose benefit? Are there really so many businesses in the world that need domain names? An awful lot of decent domain names don't command much of a price these days now that there are auction sites that show them side-by-side so you can see that the space is really rich with options, and now that domain sales agencies already suggest dozens of reasonable name combinations not yet taken.

    This is just a scam pushed by people who want to make money, and it just causes the little guy who is trying to build and protect a brand to scramble. Coke or Disney may not have much trouble covering, since it's a tiny fraction of their operation, but someone trying to build a reasonable brand from nothing may have a great deal of difficulty. And yet, big companies can already afford to just buy out whatever names it wants (or push people out by applying appropriate legal means around an established trademark). And smaller operations can better afford to use a longer name than they can to get a good short name and then never be able to protect it because of a proliferation of more-or-less-duplicates under different top level domains.

    And none of this considers the way that heuristics work in text editors, recognizing as a URL without anyone having to say. When .anything can be a domain name, how will text editors know whether you just forgot to insert a space or you intentionally wanted to auto-highlight something as a domain name.

    There are plenty enough domain names. The one thing there might not be is a fair distribution of them across non-English languages or non-US countries. But that isn't what it sounds like their mechanism will fix. If anything it will take the existing problem and compound it.

    • This already happened with .biz, but I don't think anybody cared.
    • And none of this considers the way that heuristics work in text editors, recognizing as a URL without anyone having to say. When .anything can be a domain name, how will text editors know whether you just forgot to insert a space or you intentionally wanted to auto-highlight something as a domain name.

      The only thing it would legitimately have to deal with was abbreviations like i.e., in which case you'd make sure it only highlighted words where the last component was at least two letters long, or

  • Not to mention

    • etc
  • Complaint address (Score:4, Informative)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @03:47PM (#25559941) Homepage Journal
    From the gTLD Applicant Guidebook public Comment forum [] page, there is an address posted for comments:

    I strongly encourage people to write to that address and voice your opinion on the issue. That is, after all, why it is called a public forum.

    • by Dan541 ( 1032000 )

      But unless your a share holder why should any corporation listen to us?

      • But unless your a share holder why should any corporation listen to us?

        That is a valid question. You're right, they don't necessarily have to listen to us. We cannot force them to react to input received through that address.

        However, we could take a less pessimistic approach to this and ask what is the cost of contacting ICANN through the published channel (email address)? Any user here could write an email in just a few minutes to express their concern. Isn't a few minutes of time to write an email worth the effort if it would prevent an upcoming deluge of spam?

  • so that we can have
    • by argent ( 18001 )

      Hey, the ".dot" domain belongs to The Internet Namespace Cooperative. []

      Used to be, back when we set this up because Network Solutions was playing sillybuggers with ".com". I think we were the second alternative TLD after the ".cool" people. We might have been the first, we didn't find out about each other until we'd already set up our zones and nameservers and the like...

  • With the tremendous proliferation of TLDs, the DNS could need a massive infrastructure change.
    The root zone [] will very likely grow from thousand fold to million fold, thus ramping the query load up on world root servers (13 clusters somehow spread all orund the world).
    Simply put, the current DNS infrastructure was not design for this!
    Maybe it could also be the time to implement EDNS []

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.