[At-Large] Opera now lets you ditch boring web links and use emojis instead

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Tue Feb 22 18:34:26 UTC 2022

On Mon, Feb 21, 2022 at 6:19 PM Barry Shein via At-Large <
at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org> wrote:

>  >     I also am of the belief that on the net attributes are often more
> important
>  >     than names.  For instance, if I am looking to buy some machine
> screws I
>  >     care more about the attribute "hardware store" than any particular
> name of
>  >     such a store.
>  >
>  >
>  > Arguably search engines meet much of this need already. One could and
> should
>  > have realized that "memorable" domain names were on the way down once
> browser
>  > makers merged the search and URL entry fields. From then on, typing
> <mumble>
>  > would almost always yield a more satisfying result than specifying <
> mumble.com>
>  > or for that matter <mumble.anything>. The commoditization of common
> words and
>  > especially category names, driven by an ever-growing mining of TLDs
> under
>  > ICANN, has just sped the process of turning people towards search and
> away from
>  > normal domain names.
> How do you put this 'search' on printed advertisements?

Easy. You put your business name.

If I want to find my local Joes Pizza, it's way faster to put "Joes Pizza"
into search than try to figure out (or remember) what kind of domain my
local place was able to afford or find.
And if the browser is not geo-aware (which it is on most mobile) I just put
"Joes Pizza [mycity]".

I know intuitively that I'll find Alaska Airlines by searching "Alaska
Airlines" or even just "Alaska Air". In order to offer similar convenience
in the DNS, the airline has had to buy (at who-knows-what premium?)  and
then rent multiple redundant domains. And even then, search is far more
tolerant of minor misspellings -- a search for "Alasko Air" still brought
me to the right place.

If you have a coined business name it's even easier. "VRBO" is faster to
type than "vrbo.com" (assuming that's their TLD).

If you've made the stupid decision to make the business name the same as
the URL, still works. "Booking.com" works as a URL and in search.

> Even "search for our trademarked brand name" has become almost valueless
> because search engines recognize brand names and broaden the search to
> the product category.

That depends on the search engine. Not all will sell placement. But even
for the worst ones, the exact match is clear and on top even if competitors
are presented later.

For example a particular smart phone brand is likely to net results for
> many different phones.
Worse, many brand names are generic words.

Actually, search works infinitely better than URLs especially for generic

Type 'apple' or 'galaxy' into a search box and you will probably have to
> scroll many pages down before you run into anything about the fruit or
> astronomy.

Exactly. But the searcher can type "apple computer" or "apple music" or
"apple farm near me" to get right to the result they want, and there is no
equivalent in the DNS. I searched for "galaxy phone" and got no astronomy

A DNS that was end-user focused would have made generic-word domains as
disambiguation portals, the way Wikipedia does. So "cars.com" would go to a
category rather than the highest bidder that might not even operate in your
country, in which case you have to try cars.yourCCTLD or
cars.newunknownGTLD, getting less and less "memorable" along the way.

As time passes and the populace gets ever more comfortable with the tech,
search will be exploited better with conditionals and wild cards etc. The
DNS is unchanging and ageing. Emojis are a hack that some even here see as
potential danger because they're not the product of years of working-group
thrashing and hard-fought GNSO consent.

The point is it's not either/or, all this is operating simultaneously.

Yes, and one of them is operating poorly, end-user-hostile and in decline.
That's the point of this thread. The "memorable" part of the DNS is going
the way of the phone book.
- Evan
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