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

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Wed Feb 23 10:05:44 UTC 2022

On Tue, Feb 22, 2022 at 1:34 PM Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> wrote:

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

Research followup.

While a search for "apple" is too vague in providing too many results, a
URL request for "apple.com" is too vague in its own way. There can be only
one owner, and there's no way of gleaning from the URL whether it's a
computer company, a music company, an agricultural company or something
else. You actually have to go to the site to figure out what it is.

The theory (and certainly the sales pitch) behind the vaunted gTLD
expansion(s) was to address this limitation by allowing a variety of TLDs
that could better narrow down a string's intent.

So let's see how Barry's example is actually working out in the DNS. As of

   - apple.com goes to the American computer/phone/streaming company (so
   far so good, though not intuitive)
   - apple.farm goes to a park page and is for sale (one site has the
   appraised value at just under $1000 <https://pc.domains/basic/apple.farm>
   - apple.music does not resolve
   - apple.computer does not resolve
   - apple.mobi does not resolve (not exactly intuitive, but it's the
   closest I can come to the nonexistent .phone)
   - apple.ca (my own ccTLD) is a redundant link to apple.com (so much for
   diversity of choice from the CCs)
   - apple.technology goes to the American computer/phone/streaming
   company's developer program (no extra choice in apples but it *is* a
   creative use)
   - galaxy.com resolves but doesn't work
   - galaxy.technology does not resolve
   - galaxy.mobi does not resolve
   - galaxy.music does not resolve
   - galaxy.computer resolves to an IP address in the UK but times out

So... from the PoV of a consumer, use of domains is a relative nightmare
for actually finding destinations in real-world situations. Type
"apple" or "galaxy"
into a search box and you will get a deluge, but you can narrow your search
to something useful using a second search work to narrow the scope. Typing
in "apple" or "galaxy" as a domain, goes to only one instance of a company
called apple and is useless if you're interested in the fruit or music
service or anything to do with something called "Galaxy" whether Korean
phone or Ford model or Monty Python song or celestial phenomenon etc.
Meanwhile search will work for nearly any strings whether or not anyone has
paid to own them.

In other words, I'm still waiting for a shred of evidence that indicates
how "foo.sometld" is superior to "search for 'foo' " in any way that a
consumer may want to find an Internet destination. The only downside is an
extra mouseclick on the search page, but that is offset by the benefit of
having a choice of search engines. OTOH, Barry's own example offers some
great evidence AGAINST the superiority of domains versus search.

- Evan
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