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Dotless Domain Names Prohibited, ICANN Tells Google 132

New submitter gwstuff writes "Last year, Google filed applications for about 100 top level domains. These included .app, .cloud and .lol, but perhaps most prominently .search, which they had requested to operate as a 'dotless' domain. [Friday], ICANN gave their verdict on the idea that would make this URL valid : NO. Here is the formal announcement, and a related Slashdot story from last year. So that's that. But it may still be granted the rights for the remaining 100. Is prime dot-com real estate going to become a thing of the past?"
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Dotless Domain Names Prohibited, ICANN Tells Google

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  • .com is still king (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 31, 2013 @04:52AM (#44722945)

    doesn't matter what other TLDs are announced. .com is still king for consumers, anything else is a just a toy for the nerdy.

    • by alphatel ( 1450715 ) * on Saturday August 31, 2013 @05:45AM (#44723065)

      doesn't matter what other TLDs are announced. .com is still king for consumers, anything else is a just a toy for the nerdy.

      Your statement is correct but a bit too understated. I would add the following

      It is very hard to get people to switch. Even the new internet generation that has no particular preference for .com or .other are hard won when trying to get them to change their defaults. If you tell someone to go to a website they either search, or type in the name and add .com (and an immense number of searchers type the .com part of the domain into the search box too).

      Everyone knows you could have another extension but it's not their first choice. .ME and .CO were probably two of the biggest recent TLD launches. You can still pick up a premium in either of these extensions for micro-pennies on the .com dollar, registrations are still less than .1 % of total .com, and the US by far outregisters more domains in all extensions than all other countries combined.

      Lastly, consider that ICANN is definitely the most inept entity in existence. As long as they keep the US Govt happy, they will always continue to run the rest of their org as a stupendous dung heap. This whole game of rolling out new TLDs will take them at least 5 years, and that's not counting all the supreme screwups that are sure to make the process less and less tasteful for those inside and outside the market.

      Given these factors, I would say that .com will be king, for 20 years at least. Yes you can launch "help.apple" or "game.app" and get some traction, but anything less than the uber-premium word is going to have much less draw for an exceptionally long time. If nothing else but due to the way US consumers are trained en masse. You need to start a whole new brainwashing program to rewire people and I don't see anyone coughing up a few billion for that ad campaign anytime soon.

      • I can't remember the last time I entered a URL manually. What is this, 1994?
        I often type in a single letter and the browser autocompletes it for me.
        If I don't know the exact URL, I type something in anyway and Google will look it up for me, at which point it will be saved in my browser history.

        • by Lincolnshire Poacher ( 1205798 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @06:59AM (#44723261)

          I can't remember the last time I entered a URL manually. What is this, 1994?

          Err, how about the first time you visit your bank's Online Banking subsite?

          You know the way they tell you in the introductory letter to enter the URL manually and as written in the letter? There is a reason for that.

          Just a shame they don't print the signature of their SSL cert in the letter, too.

          • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
            ... My bank's online functions are directly accessible through a link from their homepage? Only giving the address through a physical letter is probably very rare.
            • by Anonymous Coward

              How do you get to the banks homepage in the first place (the very first time)? well, you type the address into the urlbar... or i guess you could do a search for it and hope you dont end up on a phising site.

              • Nope, you type their name in google and follow the link it gives.
                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by Optali ( 809880 )

                  I did exactly this.
                    I am very happy with my new customer support from Lagos Nigeria they are very friendly, specially Dr. Mobutu Sese Jr. (son of the latter President Mobotu Sese Seko)
                  There seems to be a little problem with my salary but they promised me to transfer 10.000.000USD as soon as the funds get unfrozen at their secret Swiss bank account.

          • by runningduck ( 810975 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @11:23AM (#44724631)

            My bank is always sending me emails with attached statements and incredible offers. I just click on the links I. The emails.

          • by Meski ( 774546 )
            you start typing netba and it autocompletes to https://www.my.commbank.com.au/netbank/Logon/Logon.aspx [commbank.com.au] - and then lights up in green to tell you it's got a valid ssl cert match with the site. Typing it manually... there's more likelihood you will mispell it, and end up visiting all the one letter off dodgy websites.
            • Yeah, no. That's your local cache, "netba" brings up nothing in my web browser since I don't bank at the CBA...

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          One of the most lamentable trends in web browsers nowadays, I think, is making it so that there is only one place to enter a query. When I enter a URL, I want it to be a URL; I do not want it to take a round trip to a search engine.

        • With unlimited TLD's comes the ability to have unlimited sub-domains. An admittedly naive example would have someone create a malicious domain with the same sub-domain name and a site that looked like the legit one. Manipulate the search engines so that when someone does what you do, it goes to the shite site and phishes you. Oh wait, sites are already doing that but with links in emails. Just one click is good enough for them too? Now imagine orders of magnitude more opportunity to create look alike sites.
        • I can't remember the last time I entered a URL manually. What is this, 1994? I often type in a single letter and the browser autocompletes it for me. If I don't know the exact URL, I type something in anyway and Google will look it up for me, at which point it will be saved in my browser history.

          I guess you don't log in to your router or your WAPs to change the parameters, huh? Oh yeah, you probably set your wifi security using the button on the WAP. In fact, you're probably the guy with WEP and the default router password from which I'm leeching bandwith right now!

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        If you tell someone to go to a website they either search, or type in the name and add .com

        There are several things that go wrong.
        1) People search. Many have no idea where they should enter the website name
        2) People do not listen. They will add www to it no matter what I tell them to enter. Oh and don't ask me if there is a space. When I spell out something, I will TELL you if there is a space.

        • They will add www to it no matter what I tell them to enter.

          They add "www" not because they are technical enough to know what it means when they see it. After all, they cannot tell you what the http and the colon and the rest are for. The US mainstream knows about the doble-u's because exactly 100% of web-savvy ads in the nineties spelled it out. Just like reading a phone # aloud, no?
          It was stuff like "h.t.t.p colon slash slash w.w.w. mcdonalds dot com"
          It boggles the mind that I lived through that compared to the structure-less "follow us on facebook and twitter

      • >> consider that ICANN is definitely the most inept entity in existence

        I hope you meant that as hyperbole. Objectively things have gone rather well for the Internet since 1998.
        Though I guess one could claim ICANN's ineffectiveness as the reason? But I would still call that effective due to results.
      • "Lastly, consider that ICANN is definitely the most inept entity in existence."

        Perhaps, but the mover and shaker behind the policy (their last chair) is now working for a registrar and has a long history of shady dealings

        This isn't ineptitude. It's a cynical ploy to milk the system for all it's worth, as most large companies feel obligated to register their brandname in EVERY top level in order to defend their trademarks - ICANN doesn't benefit much but the registrars sure as hell do.

    • by Zemran ( 3101 )

      For example, how many American companies apply for .us domain? The other side of the coin is that you are only talking about the English speaking world. In Poland people want a .pl domain because customers know that the site will be in Polish. This is also true with most other languages. Obviously these are not nerdy but still niche. As for .search stupid now we have the omnibrowser or whatever you call it where I just enter the search string instead of a URL.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The fun part is .com is now understood to be .nsa.
      Will other cute words just be part of the same legal and cryptographic trap?
      • by donaldm ( 919619 )

        The fun part is .com is now understood to be .nsa.

        Most URLS's are name.designation.country with many US URLS leaving off the "country" which should be us. So if you just see .com without the country you can be sure it is a "commercial US" URL. Now if you see .mil or .gov without a country code top level domain you could be forgiven for thinking it is a front for the NSA, although I think I would be a bit more worried about .xxx domains without a country designation.

        For a list of top level domains the following site [wikipedia.org] may be helpful although when they tal

        • That's out the window. There's a lot of commercial US companies that use a .ca, .co.uk., .au etc. They just go to a site that "looks" like it would be in that country. But still ship from the US. And there's also a lot of .com sites that could be from anywhere. So .com is still going to be king for a long, long time.

        • .com is a gTLD, it's not US at all. Just like .net, .org, and .xxx. None of these have country designations because they are generic. .edu, .mil and .gov are abominations (should be .edu.us, .mil.us and .gov.us like everyone else has to), but too ingrained to fix now.

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )


      Who knows how it will be 20 years from now. Especially since the 'rules' are pretty much out the window now of what goes where. ( other than .gov of course )

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      doesn't matter what other TLDs are announced. .com is still king for consumers, anything else is a just a money grab.


    • by TheLink ( 130905 )

      That's because you lack imagination and keep thinking of TLDs as "Yet Another Dot Com". Just because the ICANN keeps making new alternative ".com" (to make more money?) doesn't mean TLDs have to all be like that.

      Google applied for ".here". Not sure what they want it for but more than 10 years ago I proposed that ".here" be a reserved TLD for local use by anyone similar to the way the RFC1918 ip address ranges are used.

      http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-yeoh-tldhere-01 [ietf.org]

      I also wrote to the ICANN to try to get it

    • doesn't matter what other TLDs are announced. .com is still king for consumers, anything else is a just a toy for the nerdy.

      So true, if my wife tells me "foo.com" I just put "foo" into a google search because half the time it is really .tv or .th but the average non-techie mostly associates ".com" with "the internet."

  • by jpatters ( 883 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @05:10AM (#44722985)

    Back in 1993, if you typed the URL http://apple/ [apple] into Mosaic anywhere on the University of Vermont network, you would get a page about apple orchards. Of course, this was just UVM's DNS.

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      Some country-code domains have their CCTLD set up as a website.

      Try http://tk./ [tk.] and http://dk./ [dk.] for example.

      Complete list of CCTLDs with A records (many more have MX records):

      ac has address
      ai has address
      cm has address
      dk has address (and ipv6 2a01:630:0:40:b1a:b1a:2011:1)
      gg has address
      io has address
      je has address
      kh has address
      pn has address
      sh has address
      tk has address

      • Some country-code domains have their CCTLD set up as a website.

        Try http://tk./ [tk.] and http://dk./ [dk.] for example.

        Both give me the "Firefox can't find the server at" message.

        • by xaxa ( 988988 )

          tk seems a bit dodgy, but dk reliably redirects:

          $ curl -I http://dk./ [dk.]
          HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
          Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2013 14:49:11 GMT
          Server: Apache
          Location: https://www.dk-hostmaster.dk/ [dk-hostmaster.dk]
          Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

          How about http://io./ [io.] , that returns 200 (no redirecting) and works fine in Opera, Chromium and Firefox on Linux for me.

          $ curl -I http://io./ [io.]
          HTTP/1.1 200 OK
          Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2013 14:50:10 GMT
          Server: Apache/2.4.2 (Unix) OpenSSL/0.9.8n
          Accept-Ranges: bytes
          Content-Type: text/html

    • That's a valid URL, for internal to your own DNS server. If no FQDN is provided pointing it to a domain outside your own, it will try to match up that name to any A records or CNAME records that exist on your DNS.

      Many organizations do this for internal webpages. http://intranet/ [intranet] , http://learning/ [learning] , http://getservice/ [getservice] are examples of how some companies do this. It's not the same as the Google suggestion, which is making a top level FQDN domain.

  • by Joining Yet Again ( 2992179 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @05:27AM (#44723029)

    competition! consumerism! capitalism! money! profit!

    Humanity: having the ability but lacking the decency to just cooperate since, well, forever.

  • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @05:37AM (#44723049) Homepage Journal
    ...at where the software I currently use the most comes from, the answer is clear: elasticsearch.org lucene.apache.org logstash.net julialang.org kibana.org localstre.am Right ?
  • I was so hoping for a new domain name. On the other hand, I do find it fascinating that they were able to write a 41 page paper to say "No." Touche!
  • I know the /. crowd may or may not disagree, but it would simplify the domain system. Why can't we have a washington.dc.city or toronto.on.ca.city among others, or linux.os, or hell how about ford.car, or photoshop.app. Or Washingtonpost.news, or CBS.news. To me it makes sense as an extension of the domain system to a level that people will understand.

    Bah...give it another 10 years when the net is at saturation point and we'll probably have this breakdown happen.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The domain name system is a hierarchical system of administrative authority. When you choose a domain name, you're really choosing the authority who will delegate your chosen domain name to you. To a marketer or a librarian, there may be different priorities for choosing a domain name, but the administrative authority is the only hierarchical system inherent to the domain name system. As domain names move up the ladder, from second level domains to top level domains, the hierarchy becomes flatter, but it re

    • city.washington.dc.us -- city.toronto.or.ca don't we already have * ENOUGH * of those names ?

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      It makes no sense to the actual users. Its hard enough now to know what is real and what isn't and how to get there. Opening things up like that would just breed confusion for users. "where do i go now?"

    • That may or may not be the case for generic TLDs as you suggest.

      However: who is going to control the TLDs? The summary suggests the applicant, and that's also my impression from previous such news.

      Many companies will want to register their company name as TLD. So instead of google.com we now have to go to search.google or www.google. That doesn't simplify stuff. So to really simplify it, Google tried to register .search and then have it allowed to run "dotless", so just http://search./ [search.] And with so many comp

    • First, this ruling isn't against that. This ruling only rejects dotless TLDs - things like just 'city' on it's own.

      Secondly, there are always contention issues. For example, 'London.city.' I'm near London. But there's also a London, Ontario. And several Londons in the US. We've already had a dispute about the 'Amazon' TLD, because Amazon the company wants the rights but Brazil also want it as a TLD associated with the river and its basin. You gave 'app' as an example - but 'app store' is a trademark of Appl

    • Toronto.ON.CA should work today, the CA TLD is to blame. .city would be stupid which is why ICANN shouldn't be idiotically opening up TLDs to anybody with the cash.

      Operating a registry should have been the only admissible use of the new TLDs. ICANN is screwing everything up now; time for the U.N. to take over. If I had the cash, I'd buy .USA and then proceed to spoof the .us domains... and .MS or .Microsoft or .Microsott ....

  • Whats the point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @06:20AM (#44723161)

    Most of the new devices connecting to the internet these days don't have a keyboard, who's gonna type in a URL anyway.

    • Yes we should just replace every website on the internet with a crappy buggy app that does nothing other than wrap some html 5 interface with part of the website content.

  • by LoneTech ( 117911 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @06:32AM (#44723193) Homepage

    Dotless names are used for local hosts (and frequently other shortcuts, like ssh aliases). Many systems use the dot to decide whether to do a global DNS lookup; if there aren't enough dots in there, the local domain gets appended. It's a lot like pathnames with the slash separator, where slash in front makes it an absolute path. What most people don't realise is that there are absolute DNS names too, which end with a period. If someone were to register the "search" top level domain, the URL would look like "http://search." Including the period. On /. of all places, this ought to be known.

    • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @08:20AM (#44723551)

      DNS is delicate.

      There was an issue a couple of years ago - I can't remember the details, but it involved printers ceasing to work suddenly without cause in some businesses. Offices where they just ceased to function.

      Turned out that the printers had been running a check for firmware updates on boot - they tried to reach their manufacturer server each time, but only got a NXDOMAIN, as the model was no longer supported an the update server no longer maintained. Until the day one of the major ISPs decided to spoof non-existant domains to instead point to their own advert-laden 'helpful' search page. The printers thus tried to fetch their firmware update from that page and, getting a 400 response, tried to install it - but instead it just failed checksum, causing the printers to lock up in objection.

      I can't recall the details any more, but you can probably look them up with enough googling. Easily fixed once you know the problem, but it shows just how delicate name lookup can be.

      How many businesses have a server somewhere called 'search?' If a 'search' TLD were registered, queries would become ambiguous and traffic ends up going to the wrong place.

  • by dmesg0 ( 1342071 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @07:29AM (#44723323)

    E.g. http://uz [uz]
    Will they have to disable it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Krenair ( 2501522 )
    • They effectively have as they are unreachable by a properly setup network which would respond to that request by appending the local DNS suffix. In an out of the box Linux install you end up trying to connect to uz.localhost which doesn't get you very far.

  • hrm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by berchca ( 414155 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @08:27AM (#44723579) Homepage

    It strikes me as ironic that the company who has marginalized domain names is trying to hoard a bunch of TLDs.

    (I mean, do you ever type in 'thingiwant.com,' or do you just toss 'thing I want' in the Google bar?)

  • by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @09:30AM (#44723931) Homepage

    After all with hundreds of TLDs added, who can remember where anything is at? Guess I'll have to google it.

  • Computers currently use the dot in a domain name to determine whether the machine is on the local network or not.

    What if I made my machine name 'search''? Would I get all the traffic intended for the 'search' dotless domain? Would people be unable to resolve via my hostname at all, getting google whenever they tried to get to me?

  • The name of the host at is just "router".
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @03:20PM (#44726047) Homepage

    I thought dotless domains were coming, and put full support for dotless domains in SiteTruth.

    There was a long discussion of this on the Mozilla developers mailing list. There are some dotless domains right now. A few country codes will resolve to an IP address, and one or two actually have a web site there. Try ac [ac.]

    A lot of software, some of it very low level, mishandles dotless domains. If you look up "ac" in DNS, you'll get a valid IP address. Browsers, though, usually try using it as a search keyword, or try it with ".com" suffixed. There was a concern that if every word typed into a browser's input box had to be checked for being a TLD domain name, it would overload the root servers and delay search responses. DNS TLD "no finds" are relatively expensive operations.

    Down at the "getaddrinfo()" level, there's a known bug. [sourceware.org] There's an exploit for this that drives traffic to subdomains of "com.com", which is set up so that all subdomains of .com.com" are full of ad pages. Right now this is just annoying, but it could be exploited in more ways if single-component domain names became popular. That's really hard to fix, because it's in the C library on most machines. Applications would have to be rebuilt.

    If you put a "." at the end of a domain name, it's "rooted", and local lookups on your local network do not apply. Type "ac." into your browser's input box, and you'll get some domain registrar who bought the Ascension Island TLD.

    ICANN actually did something right.

  • TLDs are a thing of the past, or will be. The TLD explosion will hasten that.

    Remember the early days of ebay? How you could peruse ALL of the new postings for a day in "computer hardware" (one single category) in ten minutes? Yes, you would go to computer>hardware to get to the category, and that's what you did.

    Now ebay has been overrun by online stores and bulk postings, a single ID posting hundreds or more items per day. A virtual online catalog for thousands of sale-by-the-shovel retailers.

While money doesn't buy love, it puts you in a great bargaining position.