November 20, 2000-- Newsletter #107

By Joe Burns

November 20, 2000--Newsletter #107
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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

I wanted to remind anyone who would like a weekend getaway in New Orleans while feeding their need for technology, I'll be a speaker at the C|Net Live! Conference. The conference will run from December 6th through the 10th at the New Orleans Hilton. It's a really nice hotel. I park there when I go down to the French Quarter. My personal speaking time is December 9th at 1:15PM. The topic is, The Five Questions You Must Answer Before Starting a Web Site. For more information about the conference go to:

Did you hear

Schools as early as grade school and middle school have begun to teach the ethics of the Web to their students. Plagiarism is the big topic in most of the discussions. I think that's a great idea. Even at the University level I have to limit the number of cites from the Web because if I didn't students would copy and paste together their research papers. I don't think that's a skill as one student suggested. Hopefully I will soon start reaping the rewards of these early copyright discussions.

Dallas, Texas has made the decision to combine the Internet and their phone system into one integrated data/voice network. The city has approved a $30 million contract to get started. Look to Dallas to be the model for the future of how our world will communicate.

MP3 has paid their fines and will now start charging for their once defunct MyMP3 service. No price has been set yet. The company is still concerned with whether the fee will be yearly, monthly, or some other fee structure.

Now onto today's topic

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) released the latest and greatest domain name suffixes last Thursday to mixed reviews.

The seven new suffixes are as follows; dot-biz, dot-info, dot-name, dot-pro, dot-museum, dot-coop, and dot-aero.

Well, there they are. I guess they're fine, but I'm not struck as to why we needed these particular names. Is there really that much need for a suffix for business cooperatives (dot-coop), or for the airline industry?

I fear that the politics of business got involved here. Remember where the suggestions for these names came from. ICANN opened the door to anyone who could shell out $50,000 to offer possible new domain extensions. The payoff for those groups suggesting extensions would be that the group would then make money by assigning domains. $50,000 will be chump change compared to what the winnings groups or individuals will make.

Butbutdot-aero? Really? Is the airline industry really such a force on the Web that it deserves its own suffix?

Something isn't right here. The new names have no ring of problem solving. According to the CNN article I read, dot-kids, dot-web, and dot-xxx were all turned down. The board even turned down the World Health Organization's pitch for dot-health.

Huh? Why?

I guess ICANN was attempting to not get into regulating content. If that's the case, why are they offering dot-aero and dot-museum? Aren't they both content specific? I mean, I don't think too many ten-minute oil change places are going to snap up a dot-museum suffix.

What was the purpose of offering these new domain names anyway? It has to be more than the traditional suffixes are getting full.

I saw the creation of new names as a way to almost create subsections of the Web itself. Let's say dot-kids was accepted. A very simple browser plug-in could have set up a browser so that only domains ending in dot-kids would display. That way parents could be fairly sure their kids would only be in sites approved for children. Yes, I know there are pathetic people out there that would buy one of these and put up porn, but I would think that would be a limited thing. Besides, getting back to the content regulation issue, the company that was selling the suffix kids would have had to have been partially responsible for only selling names to sites that would offer kids content, not ICANN.

Furthermore, dot-xxx could have solved a staggering number of problems. It is my opinion that the vast majority of pornography site are NOT run by people who want to put pornography in front of children. They don't want kids in their site any more than you want kids in their site. It's not that the porn purveyors are saints. It just that there's too much money to be made legally. Why go illegal and risk losing out? I would think the vast majority of the online porn industry would fall into line very quickly with dot-xxx and be happy with the results.

Just as I said before, a mini-Web could be set up. A browser plug-in would surf only for sites ending in dot-xxx. The consumer is happy and porn blocking programs very easily catch the sites.

Other than what I think will be a very small amount of bad people posting pages against the suffix, this looks like a win-win to me.

But that's not how it panned out. Now we have seven new domain names that have the same possible crossover concerns as the common dot-com and dot-net.

For example, which domain should my wife's site buy? We are a museum or sorts. We also are a business. I guess we buy both.

What if someone gets to the name before us and buys Can we proclaim trademark over the domain and sue to get the name? I would guess we canand many people will. I can't see as many problems with many of the domain suffixes that were turned down.

But all of this is purely academic because the new names are set in stone. The 19 members of ICANN have spoken and the seven new domain suffixes will begin showing up very soon.

Yes, new suffixes were needed, but I don't know that these were the best picks. I see more problems than I do solutions.

To end on a high note, I am pleased the ICANN saw fit to turn down the suggested suffix dot-sucks. It's not that I thought they should have accepted it.

I'm just stunned someone would fork over $50,000 to suggest it.


That's that. Thanks for reading. I really appreciate your taking the time.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And remember: According to statistical analysis, the most visited property on the Monopoly board is Illinois Avenue. It's those darn Chance cards that put it over the top.

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