A Dotless Domain Name? Why?

ICANN Security and Stability Advisory CommitteeI ran across a report today put out by ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC). The report is SSAC’s Report on Dotless Domains. In this report, the SSAC stated that dotless domains would not be universally reachable and the SSAC recommended strongly against their use. I couldn’t agree more but my reason for agreeing is not even mentioned in the report.

The SSAC looked at this idea from a technical standpoint. The idea was brought up because of the new gTLD process. A lot of new players in the domain name space began asking why we couldn’t just build domain names without a dot. The report answers many technical reasons why this isn’t feasible today but I’d like to bring up what I think is a more important reason.

The Difference Between The Virtual and Real World

Let’s pretend that technicians figure out a way to make a dotless URL work. I’m sure there is some way to make this possible. Maybe one day they actually will! But the more important question is “Why Should they?” I can think of no practical reason. Dots “.” are a handy way to express the difference between “The Real” and “The Virtual”

Just think about a world where there are no dots. If you said to your friend, “I’m going to Chicago,” he’d have to ask you the clarifying question, “Do you mean Chicago online or the real Chicago?” This simple point is why the question of eliminating dots “.” is silly. The dot doesn’t just play a role in the technology, it plays an important role in everyday communications. I can’t think of a better way to express a virtual location without having to clarify it every time one expresses their intent.

It’s the equivalent of buying a lousy domain name like “NuKarz4U.com.” Think about it. If you sold new cars and had this domain and wanted to run a radio ad, you’d have to spell out and explain that domain name over and over every time you ran an ad. It would go like this:

“Just come and visit New Cars For You.com! That’s spelled N-U-K-A-R-Z-The-Number-four-and-the-letter-U.com. It’s not N-E-W but N-U and not a C but a K and not an S but a Z…”

You get the point.

Eliminating the dot would add further necessary explanation to millions of discussions, around the world, both written and spoken. I suppose that we could go back to always using “www” or “http://” but neither of those do what a single dot “.” (or two) does so eloquently. Let’s not try to fix something that’s not broken.  Thankfully SSAC’s recommendation is right on.  The idea of dotless domain names is a bad one.

Read the report and comments… | Source: ICANN | Date posted: 8/25/2012

About Joe Alagna

Joe Alagna is the Vice President of Channel Development at the leading international domain name registrar, 101domain.com. Having been involved in the domain name industry and ICANN for over 15 years, he is an expert in all aspects of the domain business, including domain name investing, new gTLDs, registrars, and registries. Before the domain name business, he negotiated national accounts contracts for AT&T Wireless. Joe can be reached by phone at +1 (909) 606-9175 or via email using the contact form on this site.
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