[NA-Discuss] New TLDs and Internet users, a match made in, uh, heck

John R. Levine johnl at iecc.com
Fri Apr 1 19:56:48 UTC 2011

> Whatever the success of the past new gTLDs, I don't understand the
> reasoning behind keeping COM/NET/ORG as the de facto gTLD registration 
> space in perpetuity, blind to the ever increasing number of new Internet 
> users.

>From the point of view of Internet users, the current set of TLDs is 
consistent and predictable.  If ICANN allows a thousand new TLDs, we will 
have a mess similar to the mess with registrars, only worse since 
switching TLDs is a lot harder than switching registrars.

Registrars range from the stable and honest to the incompetent and 
criminal.  Nobody can keep track of them all, certainly not ICANN's 
compliance department, they come and go and sleaze and fail and who knows 
what else.  Verisign, Afilias, and Neustar may not be my favorite 
organizations, but at least they are competent and stable.

I agree that the new TLD process so far has been deeply flawed, but if 
there were a demand for new TLDs, I would expect at least some evidence of 
it.  As I've often noted, every new TLD has failed to meet its most 
pessimistic registration estimates by an order of magnitude, and the only 
ones with significant uptake are .BIZ and .INFO, which we all know are 
just clones of .COM and .ORG for people who missed out on the rush the 
first time.

Other than IDNs, which I think are adequately addressed by the fast track, 
the demand for new TLDs is from speculators and reality-resistant 
marketers, not from users.  There was a brief flicker of hope that some 
new TLDs might offer security assurances (.bank is the usual example), but 
the cynical way the HSTLD process turned out put that fantasy to rest.

If we purport to represent Internet users, we should be hammering on 
stability and predictability, not advocating for hundreds of useless TLDs 
that will just be full of defensive registrations and squats.

John Levine, johnl at iecc.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. http://jl.ly

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