ICANN has decided to ban the use of dotless domains

ICANN has decided to ban the use of dotless domains

Summary: In plainer terms, this means Internet users won't be seeing Web addresses that look like, "http://insert name here."


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has decided to ban the use of dotless domain names.

In a resolution issued earlier this week, the non-profit organization defined dotless domains to mean "consist of a single label and require the inclusion of, for example, an A, AAAA, or MX, record in the apex of a TLD zone in the DNS."

In plainer terms, this means Internet users won't be seeing Web addresses that look like, "http://insert name here." The basic URL protocol and format remains the same.

ICANN has been revisiting Web address formats for some time now.

For instance in 2011, the group declared that companies would be able to register almost any word as a generic top-level domain (gTLD).

But things have been murkier lately.

In May, ICANN admitted that it wasn't sure if gTLDs would make the internet easier to use or just more confusing.

Perhaps the moral of the story here will end up being the tried-and-true, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra.

Topics: Tech Industry, Google, Web development

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  • When was there dotless domains?

    I've never seen or heard of a dotless domain so what could they ban? how can you ban something that doesnt exist?
    • well, duh...

      Simple. Banning it before it becomes reality simply prevents it from existing. Is English not your first language?
      • There are better words

        "Forbid," "prevent," or "bar" may be better synonyms to use.

        The word "ban" doesn't mean something already exists - but it's heavily implied. We talk about thinks like banning books, banning certain forms of speech, etc. It's a very strong word with strong connotations.

        And don't get me started on the word "dead," which has equally strong connotations that ZDNet loves to ignore.
    • Re: When was there dotless domains?

      The 'ws' domain still is. It resolves to IP address

      Now imagine, you name a computer on your network 'ws' and try to reach it...

      The issue is actually deeper. The bad practice to assign IP addresses to domains (that contain sub-domains) was created by ignorant web hosting companies, so that you could have http://yourname.com instead of http://www.yourname.com.

      This creates a whole lot of different problems, but those companies didn't care and because they managed to build strong lobby, this practice persisted.
  • huh??

    The spec does not allow for a "dotless domain". I agree, how can they ban something that is not even possible?

    Article should be retitled something like: "ICANN thinks changing the dns spec is a dumb idea"
    • There is no such spec

      You can have any domain, technically. It is common sense that creates the rules, not technical limitations.
  • Dotless Domains don't make as much TLD money

    If ICANN admitted gTLD would make the Internet more confusing, would that be due to the fact that splintering into multiple TLD's gives the opportunity for nefarious uses if you don't secure your name? If that's the case, then why bother keeping the "dot-com" TLD? Just redefine the spec so that the "dot" only addresses sub-domains. To protect backwards-compatibility, maybe use some browser trickery by only rendering when the address bar has a special flag character. The only reason to use a TLD now is for defining countries and presenting regional lockouts, not necessarily for a functional web ... aside from using them to mock and defame businesses or phishing for customer data.
  • no dotless domains...

    This may be an efficiency issue as well. I.e. today tlds are the root domains in dns, everything trees down from there. If you disallow dotless domains this efficiency can easily be retained with minimal effort and configuration. Otherwise you potentially fragment the namespace introducing root level inefficiencies or worse.
  • What's it all about?

    It would sure be nice if Icann focused on removing confusion, simplifying names for global companies, and making local names easier to get and protect. In fact, all they seem to do is think about ways to generate more fees. They have learned from the US health care industry, the US wireless cos, and the US banks. Ain't capitalism grand?
    • strongly agree

      US controlled internet infrastructure has now come under the heavy hand of capitalism. All those domain name squatters would stand to lose a lot (or see dramatically increased capital expenditures) to maintain their pissing-off-of-the-rest-of-Internet-humanity. So one has to wonder what kind of "funding" ICANN receives and from whom.
  • google makes it all irrelevant

    how many people do you know that type their "www.tld-domain.com" into their google search bars instead of the browser address bars? LMFAO 'nuf said.
    • Oops. Accidental flag. Sorry.

      I deal with people doing this (entering their desired websites into the search bar instead of the address bar) every day at work.