April 7, 2004

Littering the root with dead TLDs

ICANN has already adopted some new TLDs that are essentialy moribund or useless to the general internet community - .pro, .museum, .aero, .coop, .name etc.

ICANN is on the verge of adding other new TLDs that may also prove to be duds.

Unfortunately, because of ICANN's silly obsession with "sponsorship" ICANN is pouring concrete around the semantics and uses of such TLDs, thus minimizing the chance that, if they turn out to failures, they can be reaped and recycled for purposes that might actually prove of value to the community of internet users.

Let's look at .mail, a proposed new TLD. Yes, spam is a problem. But I see no evidence that this new TLD will prove to be a partial cure, much less a panacea. As far as I can tell it will do no more than SPF. And SPF doesn't require a top level domain.

I'd certainly like to see a demonstration using a second or third level domain that there actually is some viable technology behind TLD proposals such as .mail.

As most of you know, I want new TLDs to come forth in great numbers - to borrow a phrase "let a thousand TLDs bloom".

However, ICANN is stingy about granting new TLDs - it's been doing about one per year on average. That artifical scarcity and restraint of trade means that we ought to endevour to get new TLDs that are actually of value to the internet community - ICANN does not leave much room for experimentation or innovation.

Were ICANN to drop its silly limitations and actually start granting a reasonable number of new TLDS - say one per day or one per week - then I'd be more willing to let untested ideas get TLDs.

Otherwise we run the risk of spending ICANN's intentionally-empty purse of TLD slots on ideas that die and provide no value to the internet community.

Posted by karl at April 7, 2004 3:56 PM