Web domain expansion 'could affect a million enterprises'

Web domain expansion 'could affect a million enterprises'

Summary: A new report reflects concerns about the addition of more than 1,000 new Web domains.

TOPICS: Web development
Illustration: Andrew Nusca

"By summer's end," the Washington Post's Craig Timberg warns, "new domains could be going live at a pace of 20 or more each week."

World Wide Web domains that is, with curious forms like ".book," ".doctor" and ".gay." (Memo to industry officials: we'd like to reserve ".zdnet"," ".awesome" and ".perlow". Oh, and ".loverockdavidson", because why not?)

We've known for awhile that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN — the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization whose revenue is tied to domain expansion — was planning for the additions.

But as industry officials meet this week at an international conference in Durban, South Africa, there remains considerable concern that the expansion "could cause widespread disruption to Internet operations," Timberg writes.

It is, in some ways, manifest destiny for the digital age.

The chief concern is making sure that the most critical operations on the Internet, such as financial exchanges and medical resources, keep working. The Internet has always been a bit of a smash-and-grab affair in terms of its growth; we're finally at the point where the penalty for breaking certain things is steep enough to reconsider. 

Critics of the plan say ICANN and others aren't ready for things to break when new domains begin to roll out later this summer. Supporters say those at risk have had plenty of time to prepare.

It's like Y2K all over again.

Is your company ready? Do you expect any disruption? Give us a shout in the TalkBack section below.

Topic: Web development

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • You forgot Mike

    "we'd like to reserve ".zdnet"," ".awesome" and ".perlow". Oh, and ".loverockdavidson", because why not?)"

    Last name escapes me right now.
  • You forgot Mike Cox.

    "we'd like to reserve ".zdnet"," ".awesome" and ".perlow". Oh, and ".loverockdavidson", because why not?)"

    Now I remember.
  • Not to worry

    Most of these new TLDs will be duds. Financial transactions are ok.

    I do see one omission in the first round of applications though: .fanboy -- that one would definitely sell!
  • Dot Insanity is right

    It's not like phone numbers. You know, area codes that ran out of numbers and soon the addition of area codes was needed. I suspect we passed the peak as many people started dropping the extra modem line, and even the land line in favor of a cell phone. But, I digress.

    Funny thing, when I consider a domain that might be fun to use for a web site, it's nearly always taken. Reserved, but not used. The welcome page at GoDaddy or whatever registrar pops up. The extra top level domains solve a problem no one had. I'd wager that many will be sold, but let's see just how many are actually set up and used for a purpose.
    • Very good point!

      A bonanza for GoDaddy. I already have a problem with people trying to add ".com" to my email address, which ends in ".US". If they can't handle any email address that doesn't end in ".com" this is going to be very confusing for a lot of people.
  • How are any of these extensions anything but an extortion attempt

    99.99999% of the time?

    As someone who deals with small business email services we've NEVER seen a .biz, .info, .name, etc... that has be "real". Or to put it another way, was used for anything other than scam attempts. Now I have seen where one fellow mentioned on a blog in a comment that he had a .info email address but had never really used it.

    To me this is a way for domain registrars to get rich by giving companies like Sears a new requirement to keep domains like sears.shop out of the hands of scammers and porn sellers.
  • How am I going to open .pdf?

    .pdf, .docx, .pptx, .xlsx, .odt, .dot and any other dot dot dot... Usually I open this file on my browser to read and sometimes edit. Used google doc too.

    How am I going to open the file without being refer to the web, or how am I going to be safe and know that .pdf domain will not stock pile of viruses on their site? Any help here?

    How about when someone using .(myname)? how do I open a file porn.zip or porn.html or porn.iso?
  • A not for profit site about the new domains

    A not for profit site about the new domains: http://new-web-domains.com/

    TLD stands for top-level domain. With the 700 + NEW TLDs and the variables allowing for up to 64 character site names there will be about one trillion options.. More, see: http://new-web-domains.com/