ICANN and Verisign are universalizing Top-Level Domains. For those of you that don’t know what that means, the most common TLDs are .com, .net, .edu, and so on. Soon we will be able to have just about any TLD that we want.

I agree with Slate’s Farhad Manjoo. While this may have been helpful five or ten years ago, it’s not particularly helpful now. And indeed, the problem that existed worked itself out and so wasn’t even necessary then. It turns out that getting used to longer URLs was just as handy as getting used to TLDs.

When I first started getting on the Internet, I was disappointed (though not surprised) that truman.com was taken. At the time, it seemed odd to have both your first and last name as a domain name. But time moved on and first and last names are far, far, far more common than not. Indeed, a lot of people have to stick a middle initial in there cause some other guy or gal had the gumption of having the same first and last name. That might vindicate the need for more TLDs, but I don’t think it does. Is it really that much less difficult to remember johncsmith.com than johnsmith.someothertld? The Internet has gotten large enough that we’re just as likely to google what we’re looking for anyway. The same applies to businesses except moreso. For instance, johnsondesign.com is just as easy to remember as johnson.design and “Johnson Design” in Google or Bing is easier to remember still.

I think that having more than just .com and .net is a good thing, but I think that the slow and deliberate pace they were moving at before took care of it, more or less. Hitcoffee.com was taken when I started this site. Though I had no real problem with taking .net, I was still disappointed. Mostly for people that wanted to just type in the name and would default to .com. Truthfully, I would have probably gone with .us if that TLD would have allowed me to maintain my anonymity. In the end, if you don’t have .com (and you’re not an educational institution with .edu, government with .gov, and so on), it really doesn’t matter what you have. Your main choice is between complicatedurl.com and perhaps simplerurl.othertdl.

I think that the .tv and .fm TLDs are great for sites offering video and audio content respectively. Those are offered because the nations that “own” those TLDs, Tuvalu and Micronesia, lease them out. So it’s a sort of win-win. I’ve often wondered why individual states didn’t offer this. Since the TLD and indeed the URL doesn’t matter all that much anymore, it gives people the opportunity to be creative or align ourselves with a particular state. Back when I thought I was going to be a lifelong Delosa resident, I would have easily taken willtruman.da.us (DA being the state’s postal code). All of the states have their own postal code under US. In fact, it used to be that cities had these complicated URLs like www.colosse.ci.da.us (CI for city, DA for Delosa) or www.colosse.co.da.us (CO for county) and some still do. That would be kind of neat, though I think they decided it was too complicated. And the reason that they don’t offer what I wish they would is probably because most people would prefer complicatedurl.com over a really complicated URL and TLD.

In the end, though, people have generally gotten used to more and more complicated URLs and often URLs that have little to do with the name of the site itself (I considered going with trumwill.com with hitcoffee.com being taken, even though I was never going to name the blog eponymously). I think more than anything this is to offer the appropriate entities new revenue streams. It’ll end up being like the much-publicized .cc TLD. Some guy bought off the national TLD of Cocos Island figuring that being the fourth (at the time) major available TLD would be a big moneymaker. He may have made some money, though it never really took off even though back then there was so much more speculation and possibilities that there are now.

Tangentially, when writing my novels, I had to come up with some website names. One of the problems I had was that I didn’t want to use real website names. The ability to find unused URLs was difficult, to say the least, so I decided to invent new TLDs. Except that I wanted them to be standard sounding. What I ultimately ended up doing – a tradition that has continued throughout all of my novels – was simply shortening it to two letters. So .com became .co, .net to .nt, .org to .or, and so on. I got the idea through British websites, which use .co instead of .com (followed by the .uk country code). It was very convenient with the exception of having to refer to the .com bubble as the .co bubble and whatnot, which was kind of goofy. But I figure people got the idea.


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