The internet was once
described as the New Wild West - where the high street
comprises a typically motley mix of saloon, general stores,
undertakers, churches, council buildings and whore houses. If
you live in DotCom street, then nothing much has changed,
other than property values have soared as anything approaching
a "nice name" has been sold to either the lucky
"rightful" owner, or some seedy name speculator,
waiting to try their luck with the highest bidder.
The freeholder of the
.com street where this eclectic mix of websites jostle for
your attention was originally IANA (the Internet Assigned
Numbers Authority) who handed the general admin over to
Internic, who made more money from this old rope monopoly than
was decent, and now a new body called ICANN (www.icann.org)
has been constituted to try and present a more democratic and
affable face to the world of the net in order to restore some
sort of decorum.
But the problem
remains that the .com domains are perceived as the be-all and
end-all of internet identity and credibility, although
organisations like the BBC have done their bit to remind the
UK at least that there is another domain - .co.uk - it really
cuts no ice, and .com is pure credibility on the international
There continues to be
loose talk of new "global top level domains" but the
feeling is that Macdonald’s will still either grab
macdonalds.anything (after all, imagine what some mischief
maker would do with macdonalds.sex) and the brand fencing
would continue apace. This arises because of the impossibility
of US and international law pertaining to such matters as
domains names is woefully inadequate and way behind the times.
But as all the snappy
domain names have gone, so 2nd and 3rd best alternatives
appear. If you are Buggins Superior PetFoods Limited, the
ideal would be buggins.com, or bsp.com - issued to someone els
ein 1998 and 1999 respectively. There are no TLAs at all
available, and no 4 letter acronyms, either. It's a problem.
Because now poor old Buggins has to work out a compromise.
Should that be
BugginsSP.com - maybe also Buggins SPF in case people spell
Petfood as "Pet Food" - or BugginsPetfoods.com - or
Buggins-Pet-Foods.com or... or...
You see the problem..?
Domain name registrars are actually rather enjoying the mayhem
at this stage of the net because most new domain owners end up
in a tizzy and register 3-10 names in the effort to capture
all the likely and confusing - or misspelled versions. After
all, maybe some customers go looking for buginspetfoods.com,
or was that buginspetfood.com..?
Eeek! There has to be
a better way.