I’ve yet to comment on ICANN’s new plan for the internet’s so called “top level domain names” (.com, .net, etc’), and I think a very important future aspect of it was overlooked by most critics.
ICANN are planning to open up the process for adding new top level domains(1) to the point where anyone can request to register new top level domains – even in a non-latin script.
Many commenters agree that implementing this suggestion would cause an explosion in the available and used top level domains, and as a result also the number of actual domains registered, which can also be a bad thing – for example, domains named after common file extensions (Firefox.exe anyone?), for specific fringe interest groups or a top level domain per city (The .nyc domain for New York City seems to be the most coordinated).
But worse are the implications of the new plan for brand names. As an Australian developer news site noted, the implications for brand managers are enormous: simply using “domain hacks” with some randomly looking TLDs can be a real headache for large corporations: the .LA domain for Los Angeles can offer
coca-co.la for the quick entrepreneur, or maybe
But I don’t think this the worst problem. What I think will happen is that large corporations with large pockets will go and buy their own top level domain names and just have that as their web address! what will prevent Sony from buying the
.sony TLD and have
www.sony as their web address or maybe even simply
I don’t think there is a single corporation that wouldn’t jump at the option to do this, and we will end up with something far worse then a messy and non-hierarchical naming(2) – a web where most top level domains are brand names of global corporations.