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U.S. To Re-Administer .US Domain Space 244

PacketMaster writes: "The United States Commerce Department is accepting proposals to change how the .US domain is administered and registered. Basically they want to know why the .US domain is unpopular, what can be done with it, and who should administer it. According to this AP story on even the U.S. Postal Service didn't want anything to do with .US. The request for comments on the changes is here. The .US domain is governed by RFC 1480. It sounds like they want to rekindle interest in the .US domain. I think this change is interesting because I wanted to register in the .US domain earlier this year. The organization that holds the administration function for my geographic 3rd level domain wanted $40 a year to register my 4th level domain. I got a .net cheaper elsewhere but I wouldn't have minded a .US if it was cheaper or free like many .US's are and also shorter -- anyone? Many other countries give out domain.ccTLD or; why can't the U.S.?"
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US Gov't To Re-Administer .US Domain Space

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  • by ct.smith ( 80232 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:33PM (#820458) Homepage
    Actually, from a cultural perspective, it makes a lot of sense to have country TLDs. Whenever I see a country TLD, I know immediately the culture and economy to whom the site belongs.

    For example, being Canadian, I know I won't need to worry about currency conversions on a .ca ecommerce site. Likewise, a .ca news site would more relevant to me. With a .com/.org/.net, it's just hard to guess these things.

    How those in the US identify with .us domain I don't know, but since it's less popular, I guess Americans don't attach the same value to .us as other countries do to theirs.
  • And what about the people who arent american, who have .com addresses? As well, as another poster pointed out, the net isnt geographical - a lot of .coms want to do international business.
  • But no-one is going to remember either.
  • .net, .com, .org, etc are meant to be international, ie appling to entities that span multiple countries.

    Actually, no. That's what .int was for.

  • by Richy_T ( 111409 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @02:59AM (#820462) Homepage
    The other interesting thing is that technically, neither UK nor GB are strictly speaking countries. England, Scotalnd and Wales are separate countries. That's how come we get to enter so many athletes into sporting events (and still do dismally at them).

    Webmasters please bear that in mind next time you have drop down dialogue boxes for "country" which include "United Kingdom"


  • So I presume you'll put yourself in the .smart domain? Well, I'll hijack your DNS, and move you over to .dumb, so there.
  • anyone pulling random domain names out of their ass deserves to get lost.


  • Some of them used to be free. I obtained for free. I just emailed someone a domain registration request. That was back when people were running UUCP over Telebit Trailblazers and uunet was just getting started.

    Back then, there was a lot more cooperation and a lot less commercialism.

  • I administered a .cc. domain, and in addition to the stupid long naming convention..."" tacked on to the host identifier...I found that the DNS servers I implemented couldn't be the source for any other DNS tier...we had to get another domain name to do DNS services for some not-for-profit's we let co-locate at the college. What a crock! When you register, they ask for the IP of the DNS servers, so what the heck! I suppose it's a way to bilk another registration fee out of people. As I see it (correct me if I'm wrong), there can't be a technical reason. Oh well, I got over it.
  • ISO 3166 assigns GB to "United Kingdom", and IE to Ireland. Either ISO or JANET screwed up pretty seriously, and IANA didn't feel like fixing the problem.

    Not quite. ISO is wrong to assign GB to the UK since they are logically different entities. Probably was decided by the French anyway.

    But anyway, originally, Janet was not using TCP/IP or DNS and wasn't bound to use ISO. Computer names were of the form (for example) When Janet went over to tcp/ip and DNS, it was just simpler to switch it around the other way than to do renaming. Of course, hindsight probably shows it would have made more sense to go through the effort for the change.

    OTOH, there are plenty of people in Norther Ireland who dont even want to be part of the UK. Having to be refered to as "GB" would probably send them into a fit.


  • by Glenn R-P ( 83561 ) <> on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @03:18AM (#820468) Journal
    For example:

    Last time I heard, Portland was in Oregon...

    Or has this got something to do with plate tectonics?

    No, it is to avoid confusion with Similarly, to avoid confusion with the proposed relocation of .net to and .com to,


  • > I guess Americans don't attach the same value to .us as other countries do to theirs.

    .com IS our country, sadly.

  • What a load of pretentious, meaningless rubbish. Pull your head out of your arse and you'll see that people live in countries. These countries have different languages and cultures. That's the way it is. The majority of us delight in our differences and do not want to become a boring homogenous world. The easiest way to cater for the different countries / cultures is by geographical partitioning of domains. This system is not perfect, but it works well for people outside of the US.
  • Canada does the same thing, basically. For Canadian companies, you need to have either federal incorpartion papers or trademarks to register a top level domain. Because a lot of small to medium businesses are only incorporated provincially, you are forced to a *, * etc. Which sucks as most people would never guess that when doing a search, so it's not worth registering. Even worse, they will also try and force you down to the city level. So it's back to the race for .com etc.
  • If you administer .us, why do you use .com? ((User #33911 Info)

  • i don't get it. how is the GPL limiting one's freedoms?

    Practical example:

    I have this logbook program [] which connects Ball GC varios [] with Macintoshes. []

    There's a number of pieces of GPL code it would be rather nifty to work into this program. But I can't, because the GC is officially certified as an Acceptable Recording Instrument for the purpose of proving FAI world record [] claims ... and to maintain that certification, the GC's control protocols may not be publicly disclosed. Which open sourcing the code in any fashion would do, in their opinion.

    Yes, they're stupid. No, I cannot change the FAI's mind even if I was idiotic enough to try. So I can use BSD code, public domain code, whatever, and provide a free as in beer program like I am. It would be a better free as in beer program if I could use GPL code, but I can't because the FAI are morons.

    Sooo ... the GPL here is limiting my freedom to make the best free as in beer program I can from publicly available source code, which means that the pilot community doesn't have as good a free resource as they would otherwise. Nobody at FAI gives a flying fuck about computers, never mind Open Source, there is no way that going to the trouble of changing this would ever get on the agenda in the foreseeable future.

    And who exactly is benefiting? Nobody I can see.
  • I registered last summer. It was easy. $10 one-time charge, and the it only took a day. It all depends on who is administering the domain.
  • The thing is... you don't get those to yourselves. The .US domain has a place on the net now more than ever, as the .net .org .com .edu's are being used globally rather than just by the US!

    You're right about the US not settling for a .US domain, but it seems that some non-US sites are also not settling!

    For example: [] & [] - An Australian Telco [] - An Australian PC Mag. [] & [] - An English ISP.

    "How much truth can advertising buy?" - iNsuRge [] - AK47
  • A good space of the geographic subnets of the .us TLD have already been doled out to small-time ISPs, who are free to charge any price for it, and put up any restrictions. These .us domains aren't governmentally controlled as they are elsewhere, nor do they have any enforced rules for use. So, GreenNet can charge something unreasonable for, out of proportion to the actual usefulness of the domain. Of course, they aren't selling any, which either means they aren't paying attention to that market, or that their goal is to bilk city governments who might want the domain.

    Of course, no one apparently told them that Lynn (et al) is a pretty poor community. Which is why at $35/yr exists (and is privately run) instead of which is going for an undisclosed price.

  • If you want a .us domain in one of the zones I control, you're welcome to it. For free. Like most .us domain administrators I know. Whatever is the reason that .us isn't widely used, you haven't hit on it yet. Keep guessing -- maybe you'll graduate to intelligent moron.
  • More interesting possible us domains,,,,,, !,,,,,,,, (missus... get it? Like Missus Robinson)

    Ok. I'm done now.
    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • As if to underscore the absurdity of the .US naming heirarchy, the Dept. of Commerce asks, in all seriousness, whether there are "issues that need to be specifically addressed in the required study, such as 'locality-squatting'...." (see Question 5).

    Only in America(tm).

  • -- OH! an even better idea than .edu! And people *MUST* be an educational institution!

    At least .edu is not polluted. In fact, it has become MORE restrictive. You must be an accredited 4-year degree granting institution to get a .edu address. My employer, a community college, was lucky they got there's in 1993 and was grandfathered, else we'd be instead of - - -

    A good thing too. My boss wanted me to help him register a friends tech school in PA. He wanted a .edu to make it sound "proper." I told him that could not happen. He was not happy! :)

  • I am inspired by sleep withdrawl and cafeine. With regard to my suggestion in another comment [] that we'll find a way to resolve namespace conflicts in the tradition of the virtual world instead of the physical world, I propose the Brand Name Service .

    Recognizing that the DNS is not suitable for organizing brand and trademark based name resolution, a different framework is necessary that addresses the needs of a namespace composed of brand, trademark, and other forms of intellectual property. Whether you agree that intellectual property is a valid idea, you surely can't deny that people treat it as such and laws exist backing it up. To solve the current problems with DNS namespace allocation is to address the problems people see with intellectual property disputes that arise from use of the DNS.

    What is Brand Name Service ?

    • It is a new namespace under which the specific concerns of intellectual property naming boundaries can be respected and resolved with a minimum of effort.

    Specifically, what is it?

    • I don't know exactly, the necessity of such a system just now occured to me. I see two viable models, one based on distributed reputation, and another based on centralized registration. I do know that it either has to map intellectual property namespaces either onto the DNS or to IP networks. It can either be a parallel entity to the DNS or sit on top of the DNS.
    • Perhaps it would be best to create a system that is a blend of distributed reputation and centralized registration. This is how people recognize each other and entities, and there are working established rules and procedures for dealing with names in such namespaces. There must be an acceptable system we can create in the virtual world that'll interface properly with the system in existence in the real world.

    Why is such a system necessary?

    • The DNS was created under circumstances which, by and large, no longer apply to the Internet. The Internet is not a research project anymore. DNS solved the very pratical problem of remembering numeric addresses and to institute some semantic ordering of those addresses. A fairly arbitrary system was devised that would map meaningful strings to those numbers for the convienence of people. The system created to allocate those strings was based on the logical, functional, and political network topology of the Internet at the very beginning of the Internet.
    • Needless to say, the Internet has changed with the most significant portion being the political componenet of the network topology.

      The DNS fits the old model much better than the new model. It no longer satisfactorially addresses the political needs of the Internet. We can tweak the technology to address the problems or we can wait for the legal system to tweak us. I prefer to solve the problem without getting a bunch of strange hybrid physiecal/Internet commerce laws passed that will erode the potential of the Internet.

    Solving Current DNS Conflicts

    The DNS was never meant to deal with intellectual property conflicts other than saying "registrars will sort it out." Now people are discovering that registrars aren't the appropriate entities to sort this out because the namespace itself is inadequate.

    So what can be done? Essentially what has to be done is to take the existing intellectual property databases and create a mapping onto the DNS. For instance, if I am Nissan Motor Company and someone has taken, no problems at all. People will not simply try to look me up. They will go to the BNS, look up "Nissan Motor Company", the BNS would in turn query "" to find the proper IP address.

    This also eases the problem of internationalization. Suppose I'm only interested in Nissan Motors in Japan. No problem. My browser would have my locality set to Japanese when I typed "Nissan Motors" (or the Japanese equivalent) and the BNS would find the Japanese version of the "Nissan Motors" and query "" in the DNS.

    This makes the BNS the authority for brand, trademarks, and other types of intellectual property that businesses rely on for reputation.

    I'll have to think some more on how the BNS could handle distributed reputation without requiring a centralized repository, but I believe it is only a matter of articulating my thoughts.

    What do you think?

  • the .us domain name is so unpopular because as mentioned you can't register ... you would have to register which no one wants to remember and no one really would care about. I agree with the second level inquires like or or hell like the rest of the net now-a-days ... making the domain open to things like that would make me interested.

    I personally chose because I made it short and to the point, but because of where my server is I would of had to go through the trouble of which is completely worthless to me.

    If I could have gone with I definantelly would have considered it much more. All the other countries ... well quite a few of them ... are allowing this ... .cx and .uk are the most famous ones that I can think of.

    personally I'd like to see the TLD of .gov open up :-)

  • We are special. The Internet was funded and developed by the United States. That isn't imperialism, just a fact. If it had been funded and developed in Russia, everyone would be whining about a similar set of problems, only it would be Russia's "fault".

    If you think the residents of .gov and .mil are going to move without a fight, dream on. It would be extremely expensive and complicated. The USA .com residents would fight a move by keeping it in court for the next 20 years.

  • And since most people will have a very hard time finding out whether a given site is topologically close to them, but no problem with geographically close asking them to pick a geographically close one helps.

    This might be true in general, but here in the US, our knowledge of geography pretty much sucks...

  • by commrade ( 79346 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:10PM (#820496)
    A lot of people have never even heard of such a tld. Even among those of us who have, the procedure for acquiring such a domain name is not widely known. Perhaps clearing some of the red tape would help?
  • by pryan ( 169593 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:10PM (#820497) Homepage
    It may make sense to administer a physical infrastructure by partitioning based on geographic location, but doing this in a logical space is not needed and constrains the system unaturally. What about entities that exist in multiple locations, constantly move around, or don't exist anywhere?

    It just makes no sense to impose geographic only ordering to the web. The web isn't about geography, it's about ideas, and increasingly, marketing and mindshare.

  • Yes, the length of them is detrimental to their use, but I don't think that's the primary reason.

    The big reason is that they're geography based. There are very few uses to which geography is relevent to a web site. I'm not going to use it for my company; what if I move it? I'm not going to use it for a personal address; again, what if I move?

    The only reasonable use I can think of to a geography-based address is, surprise!, the government for a particular city, where the geography makes sense to include in the URL. Other than that, including the geography just makes no sense.


  • You know, 'them'.
  • Although I agree with you about why it is so, I don't think it's true that advertisers can't handle the 4-character domains. Look at -- there are plenty of them, and if you're in England it's very common to see them advertised. It's just easier to say and remember "DOT COM" than "DOT CO DOT US", so advertisers would rather not switch when they've got it good already.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Ok, but what should I do when it says "Please use a mirror geographically close to you"?

    Ignore them and use a close one according to network topology. That's what they should be asking for anyway.

    Network topology != geography.

    (but that still doesn't show that geographic-based naming schemes don't have their place.)

  • I had assumed for a long time that, due to simple American superiority complexes (and I'm an American), although every other country was relegated to com.CC (or co.CC) and org.CC and edu.CC (or ac.CC), that US simply had domain over .com, .org, .edu, etc as their very own proxy ccTLD.

    Then they started selling .com to overseas companies, which started to confuse me, because then you couldn't rely on the TLD to determine where a company or website was located. You always knew that was in the UK, but you couldn't quite be sure where a .com was located anymore.

    Which made me wonder... aside from simple American arrogance, why was US so special? Why did other countries put up with having to use ccTLDs while American companies had full reign of gTLDs?

    You'd think, with all the hoo-rah about this imaginary "drought" of domain names, that companies would be stir crazy about the .us TLD. Then they wouldn't have to live in fear of very, very messy domain name disputes with people in faraway countries where legal action is difficult to initiate and maintain.

    But the thing is, NOT having to tack on a ccTLD at the end of your domain name is confusing, and oh so common. Its much nicer to have than (Though they have no problem with also picking up Besides, Americans (especially now) don't want to have to start typing longer URLs, as rare as they actually have to do that anymore.

    The only way to get American companies and others to start using the .us TLD is to eliminate the gTLDs, long the kingdom of American companies, forcing them all to move use instead. If they already have, they're not going to see any reason to bother with

    I don't know why the gTLDs exist anymore if they are not US-only, to be honest, aside from the difficulty there would be in eliminating them now.

  • Once you get going it's hard to stop. (*cough*),,,,,,,,

    Really, though, there are some huge opportunities here. If the us government just opened up the following [x].us domains:,,,,,

    and auctioned off each of the attractive subdomains (, etc.) they could make a ton of money for wiring schools to the internet, or paying teachers, or something worthwhile.

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • The .us domain uses the USPS Zip Code guide to decide what is a locality. I can't register or (for my church) because the USPS *thinks* I live in Garden City and my church is in Floral Park. They are wrong.
  • all the US has to do is expressly state that the judicial branch of government will not get involved in disputes over domain names in anything but the .us TLD. Plain and simple. Just say that if you want us to protect your trademark name, then you had better register it in our TLD. Otherwise, it is a free for all.

    The biggest problem here will be figuring out how to get out of the way as all the big corps rush to register and advertise their .us 2nd level. The public education of how the DNS naming works would be worth the effort in itself.

    Of course, I would apply the rules proposed by a previous poster. You can't register a .us 2nd level unless you were somehow involved in all 50 states. I would only be allowed "me", but Ms. Portman has a claim to

  • On the flip side, to what end do we want to delineate a site by the geographic location of its server? As the world integrates its services, it shouldn't matter which country is home to the business. Or, in more extreme situations (actually, rather common), a company has offices running in different countries.

    Oh, that's easy. First, eliminate all TLDs except for country codes. (Grandfather in existing domains, but deprecate the whole ".com/.org/.net" system.) Now it's up to each nation to partition its space as it sees fit, and to arbitrate disputes under its own laws.

    Remember that the country codes partition the net by political boundaries, which may or may not correspond to geographic boundaries. So a multinational corporation like McDonalds could register "mcdonalds.XX" for every value of "XX" in which it does business. Or, "" or some such if the country wants to sub-partition its space.

    Oh, but wait! The shepherd Angus McDonald has already registered "" for his farm and doesn't want to give it up. What's a poor multinational company to do? Appeal to the UK courts, of course. Let the matter be decided according to UK law.

    As much as we'd all like it to be, the net is not immune to political boundaries . Disputes are going to arise over names. Lumping everything into a single ".com" space is fine for huge multinationals, but sucks rocks when two completely unrelated local companies in different nations argue about who gets "". Who settles such a matter?

    As far as the .us domain goes, it needs to get away from the "*" hierarchy. It'd probably be a good idea to subdivide the .us TLD into "", "", "", etc. And yes, still allow "*" for anyone who wants to show that they're a local concern.

  • Or shorten it even more and use a system similar to the UK: - businesses - educatonal - well duh

  • .US names are not locality-based. They are locality-assigned. Unfortunately, while this makes perfect sense for assignment, it is not useful. On the face of them, .us names look like they're a description of the location of the service being accessed.
  • No, he deserved it. Just because a few greedy people got their hands on a pile of .us delegations, that doesn't mean that he can malign the rest of us.
  • Rename everyone with a .com to or Don't re-open the .com space though.

    To grandfather things in every country should set up their name servers so that in the us if I go to it looks up, while in London it would go to This would require some name server magic that we don't currently have, but it would not be too hard to add.

    I'm not sure how the .int that I proposed above would work, exactly, but it looks like we need something like it.

  • Well man its like this... sometimes it takes resources to run shit. Like bigass beer-cooled Sun servers, redundant T3's, administrative/technical/customer service personnel (who incidentally need to eat and drink beer too), climate controlled buildings, generators, big UPS's, fire supression systems, Cisco routers w/support contracts, and toilet paper for the bathroom. Triple all that if you want a fault-tolerant operation with redundant, geographically isolated data centers.

    I don't think that's at all an exaggeration of what's involved in running a decent-sized TLD.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch. Someone, somewhere has to foot the bill for shit. Why shouldn't it be the people who are benefitting from it? Seems pretty fair to me.

  • Yeah...and if my business was world wide, which domain would I have?

    I guess you'd have to settle for .int. He's the oft-forgotten little brother in the tld world.

  • Standard registration fee for two years on a domain: AUS$137.50. Standard registration fee for two years on a .com, .net, or .org domain from the same registrar: AUS$121.00. Want to know why the costs 15% more? I can summarise it for you in one word: monopoly. It used to be free until some capitalists realised what they were missing out on.
  • not just "", but TRU goes to court and claims the entire "" subdomain by trademark rights.


  • I would have made that same comment had he said +44 was the code for england, however, i was going to let that one slide because: 1) If you want to call Scotland, +44 IS what you dial 2) Alex G. Bell was a scotsman. 3) how rare it it that someone makes that mistake. and finally. Scotland RULES! (And thank you for moderating me offtopic)
  • cool idea (Lifeboat manufacturer) (FBI) (Ku Klux Klan) (United Way Charities)
  • (Of course, can't be .co because of coloradoe, and can't be .com becuase of confusion with the TLD)

    Sure you could. Just tell people that if they want the global "COM" TLD, they need to type ".com." instead of just ".com". DNS was made to do this, remember...

  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @04:21AM (#820542) Homepage Journal
    The real problem with all of these DNS issues (not only .com vs .us, but also the trademark problems, overcrowded namespaces, etc.) is that DNS was never designed to be a locator service. It was designed to attach names to hosts that are easier to memorize than dotted-decimal IP addresses. There have been several attempts at real locator services -- some directory-based, some much simpler (such as RealNames and AOL Keywords) but to date, all of these services have been proprietary, and the last thing the Internet as a whole wants to do is create Yet More Lock-In to a single entity.

    The IETF needs to get its butt moving, to deliver a true Locator Service specification to the Internet. I believe there is a working group on the case, but to date not much has come out of it.

    For what it's worth, I used a .us name for my system for years (a BBS located at []) but eventually jumped into a .org instead (address is in my sig) simply because it's easier for people to remember, and to say -- the more abbreviations and punctuation marks that are in a hostname, the more difficult the name becomes to speak when you're telling someone in-person what your e-mail or web address is.
  • I know several TLDs such as .uk shorten to Is there some reason for this?



    The Joint Academic Network was the Uk's equivelent of ARPAnet.

    It used UK-AC-MAN rather than But the endiennes got changed, whilst the second level domains remains the same. notice that JANET implicetly had a national TLD as mandatory.

    Would have saved the whole .com thingy.
  • How about TLDs of .inc and .llc for US entities, .ltd for British corporations, .gmbh in Germany, and so forth? And go back to the "one entity, one domain name" rule.
  • If .US is revitalised and .com shut down for further registrations things could be a whole lot easier. The entire world attempting to use the same namespace (.com) is not working and everyone knows it. Of course, .org, .net, and the rest would have to be administered intelligently as well (or shut down too).


  • The problem as I see it is that .com has become the 'big' TLD, and almost all companies marketing themselves in such a way that the non-aware man on the street thinks that all domain names end .com.

    Here in the UK, I get very annoyed when I go to a .com site, which used to mean 'international company', and instead it's Bob's Grocery store or whatever, taking up a site that could be more usefully used by someone who wasn't going to refuse to sell outside of his state, let alone country.

    There's notbing per se wrong with; the problem is marketing. Blame Sun ;-)
  • Unfortunately, .int is only open to international treaty organisations. That's why .int is often forgotten- because almost nobody can use it.
  • 1. The "unwashed masses" do not know that .US exists because it has not been advertised. For some strange reason, beurocrats think they can issue a memo and then the whole world complies. Sorry Bubba, it don't work that way outside of DC (hell, it don't work that way IN DC either, but try convincing a fed of that).

    2. Feds do not realize that to make something "unknown" popular amoungst buyers, you use a LOW price, not a HIGH price. They seem to think that massive taxes generate more revenue too. Go figure.

    3. For some reason, the feds think that picking ip a .US domain is the same budget choice for joe sixpack as it is to joe IRS for picking up .gov, or for joe M1A1 to pickup a .mil address. They have no concept of what real "out of pocket" money is.

    4. Redundant, but needs to be repeated, .US can NOT become *popular* if it is not widely known. (not meant to be a riddle, sorry)

    Conclusion: the government needs to do the same thing that they did with cigarettes in WW I to make .US widespread and famous. Give them away to a broad base of employees (like soldiers) so that they can market it by word of mouth.

    Visit DC2600 []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 28, 2000 @09:12PM (#820564)
    I have the entire answer to this. It is actually quite simple, and I base it on existing laws.

    You have a business "Joe's Cars" in Louisville, KY , with no other points of operation. Your domain would be:

    OK, say "Joe's Cars" had several locations in KY, then the domain would be:

    Say that "Joe's Cars" was a well-known nationwide business like Coca-Cola, then your domain would be :

    Of course, for this to work it would involve some oversight before assigning doamins, much like the IRS uses existing tax laws to assign taxes. In other word, do you have an office in that state/county/region, etc... Do you plan on expanding to hat area in the next 5 years, etc...

    This would do away with the entire "dot com" name pollution and domain hoarding prblem, and probably make it easier for the avergae joe to find what they are looking for, once they learn or are "force-fed" the hieracrhy rules. It would take some time, surely, but this is always how I have seen/desired the whle namespace working... It just makes more sense to me. It avoids a whole lot of conflict...

    Have questions? Think I'm wrong? Wanna flame me? All questions emailed to me will be answered. Try me.

  • Makes sense for other companies too. Instead of having (which is hard to guess), you could have

    Unfortunately, last I heard, it was not possible to acquire a domain in It's a shame that there is no Also shameful is the state of sad.

  • After seeing this article, I got rather curious about registering a .us domain (I had thought about it 3 years ago, and really should have done it then-seemed easier.)

    Well, according to the handy-dandy guide at [], the US domain registry can't take care of it for me, because the town subdomain is delegated. Unfortunately, the company it's delegated to is no longer doing business under the same name, and the contact address is for the postmaster. I'm too tired to mail them now, but in my past dealings with company in question all I've received is a letter on the proper place to forward spam.

    Is it no wonder the locality in question gave up on and went over to

    So my question is-anyone manage to register a .us successfully? (Especially in Minnesota?)
  • This could be an opportunity to fix some of the things that are broken about the current DNS. If we don't want .US abused as badly as .COM has been, it's critical to do something more sane this time. If done right, a revamped .US could serve as a model for revamping top-level domains...

    Let's not have, okay? (For the myopic people suggesting, remember Colorado already has that.) If we had a free-for-all in, it would be abused as badly as .com is. The concept of having a single "commercial" category is absurd. It would be better to have a "" as a last-resort option for anything that can't be categorized.

    Because .com, .net and .org are often treated as synonymous (how many companies automatically register all of them?), replicating that mess under .us wouldn't help anything. Instead, it makes more sense to consider what purposes people use domains for. Create a domain structure with more purpose, and enforce reasonable usage. Have non-profit organizations manage the registry. Create "domain czars" a la Usenet 2's hierarchy czars [] with responsibility for DNS subtrees.

    First, recognize that sex sells, and that sex sites aren't going away. Accordingly, create a domain dedicated to the purpose. (Just think how easy those domain names would be to filter out!) Don't allow the sex sites to register under inappropriate domains.

    Second, deal with trademarks explicitly -- create a for trademarked names. (Maybe for service marks also?) Create sub-domains under for the trademark categories. Require proof of trademark ownership to register under, and don't try to police trademarks in the rest of the DNS hierarchy. Allow top-level registrations under only for those "well-known" trademarks that cross boundaries. (e.g.

    Next, come up with categories that would better represent the things people want to do with .com/.net/.org, and create a proper hierarchy. Use as a fallback if necessary. Don't allow free-for-all registrations like .com registrations. For example, The Matrix should be "" instead of "".

    Allow obvious non-commercial domains like "" (maybe "", but ".org" has been abused) and "" for personal sites. (Could these be categorized?)

    Basically, any organizational structure that might be proposed at the top level should be viable under .us as well, and .us would be a good proving ground for any proposal for gTLD's...

    Another thought I had was to charge VERY nominal fees for the first domain or three, but rapidly increasing fees (e.g. doubling each time) to hold many domains at once -- that would keep some of the .com abuse in check. Massive cyber-squatting would be too expensive, and dumping all products into the DNS space (think Kraft) would be prohibitively expensive for even an enormous company, so they'd have to do something more reasonable.

    The base fee should probably be determined by the depth of the registration -- free for 5 levels deep, cheap for 4, medium for 3, expensive for 2, exorbitant for 1. If something like "" were allowed, it should cost them millions of dollars annually to hold it...
    So that would explain why the US has country code 1, because Alexander Graham Bell was... no wait a minute, Scotland has country code 44.

    No, the USA has country code 1 becuase AT&T (formerly known as American Telephone and Telegraph) assigned the numbers. Go fig.

    And then there's the curious fact that everywhere else in the world, longitude East is positive, (as you would expect from the usual Cartesian coordinate system) and West is negative, but in US maps, West is positive.

    You ... You mean ... New York City isn't the center of the universe?

    And your maps of the world, with the USA in the centre, which means the break has to come somewhere in India. Everyone else puts the break in the middle of the Pacific, where it doesn't matter, but that would put the USA off on the edge, can't have that ...

    That's funny. I live in the USA, and none of my maps look like that (well, ok, the USA is pretty centered on my maps of North America). I remember the maps in school splitting along the Pacific, too. Where did you get this data point?

    Then there's your curious attachment to a system of measurement that even the stick-in-the-mud English have abandoned (hello NASA, are you listening ?)

    Interesting trivia point: They tried to make us use metric. They ever passed laws. The unwashed masses wouldn't go along, and the govt seems to have given up.

  • Actually, it's not stupid, and has great applications as a geographically restricted tree-structure.

    As far as for uses with moving locations, we already have a system in place with the .com 'structure'.

    As far as uses with multiple locations. You either go with a .com, or you get a .us address for each of your locations, the same as you get a different postal address for each location. It's not so bad.

    Think before you wish for the .us to be rebuilt into the same amorphous chaos that .com is in. Use .us if geographics is important (Must be, or you would find no importance in having a .us on the end), use .com if you don't want to deal with the enforced geostructure.

  • Internet Names Worldwide, as it is now pretentiously known, is one of the major registrars and does not "simply apply on your behalf" any more than Network Solutions does. The reasonableness checks that go into a application existed even when the service was free, so how did it suddenly become expensive? Basically, the applicant has to provide the registration number of a registered business name. I know: I have

    On top of which, in case you hadn't guessed, I'm Australian myself. When I say we are as ludicrous as ever, I am primarily referring to our useless and assinine Internet censorship laws, plus the technologically ignorant politicians who pushed for them.

  • . . . even the US Postal Service didn't want anything to do with .US. . . . And there is a very good reason for this. Back in 1981 (the year that they took the copper out of our pennies) The US Post Office and all it's operations were turned over to the Rockefeller Foundation. And they are not a part of the U. S. government. That is why they do not go by the name "United States Post Office" anymore. Because they are *NOT* the U.S Post Office. "It" is now a private organization that provides a *service* to the "United States". Like most of us - you were probably asleep while it happened. Bogy
  • Ahem. Make that "organizations established by international treaties between governments or Internet infrastructure databases". is the latter- it's a database of fax servers.
  • Well, I had a friend who actually WANTED to register a .us domain, but they wouldn't let him.. I can't remember the reason they gave. I think you _HAD_ to be a business of some sort or an oraganization...

    His proposed domain:

    Perhaps he should've read the US domain overview [] or very first bullet [] of the registration instructions then. You certainly don't have to be a business, or any sort of organization... I've got a domain under, and I'm just some guy with a few computers.

  • Oops.
    Sorry, my bad. Sorry Colorado.

    Yeah - like zorba says - just use

    Yeah I don't get the two letter system myself.
    The .co seems strange to me anyway.
    I'm English, and we have, and, but rather that

    I prefer - I know Australia uses

    I think 'co' may be an existing abreviation for company. Anyone know why we use 'co' not 'com'?


  • That's exactly the problem.

    From what I can tell, I'm supposed to send an email to some person at some ISP and then hopefully get a response.

    But I want to be able to control my name just like I can my other domain names at, etc. I don't want to have to rely on sending an email and hopefully getting what I want.
  • ...they could do a little work on RFC 1480 itself:

    The US Domain hierarchy is based on political geography. The basic name space under US is the state name space, then the "locality" name space, (like a city, or county) then organization or computer name and so on.

    For example:


    Last time I heard, Portland was in Oregon...

    Or has this got something to do with plate tectonics?

    I think not; therefore I ain't®

  • Wording changed to the way I heard it many years ago.

    A host is a host
    from coast to coast.
    But no one will talk to a host that's close.
    Unless the host
    that isn't close
    is busy, hung or dead!
  • by pryan ( 169593 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:14PM (#820614) Homepage
    I propose we eliminate all domains and create two: .stupid and .smart. Then I can block everything in .stupid.

    We can use a Slashdot style moderation scheme to decide who goes in .stupid and in .smart. Of course by doing so, Slashdot runs the risk of being put in .stupid. <ducks>

  • by tux42 ( 213341 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:17PM (#820617)
    From []:

    Currently, there are no fees charged by the US Domain Registry for delegating a .us domain name.

    Some administrators of delegated domains do not charge for registering a host in the US domain in their locality, and some do. There is no requirement that domain names be free, only that any charges be fair and applied equally to all customers.

    In the past, managers provided the nameservers and registration services for localities (and other branches of the US domain) for free. Some people came forward to provide this public service, and it was very much appreciated.

    Many locality names in the US domain are delegated to small companies. These companies need to charge a small fee to set up and maintain the database and run the nameservers to support this service.

  • DNS was never designed to be a locator service. It was designed to attach names to hosts that are easier to memorize than dotted-decimal IP addresses.

    To be frank, the only good reason for DNS is to make it easier to change IP addresses without having to notify everyone and his brother. People have been getting along with ten digit (xxx) xxx-xxxx phone numbers for years; Joe Sixpack can handle IP addresses just fine, and in fact might get along better with an arbitrary number than trying to remember whether Oxford University is,, or, as it happens, (I think the Brits enjoy their Anglo-Saxon monosyllabic domain names, but I digress.)

    Besides, most people click on a link to get to a site. Do tech support for awhile, and you'll be appalled to discover how many users don't know they can enter a literal domain name into their browsers.

    Sure, DNS has been a nice mnemonic tool, but it has become a prime example of why private business interests cannot be trusted to act in the public interest. Even if businessmen could somehow be relied on to behave fairly and decently in the face of the profit motive, some disputes just can't be resolved fairly because there are only so many meaningful names for the same type of business. Take my father's company, The Art Store, located at [] because and were both already taken, and there are several dozen other small art supply companies in the US called "The Art Store" who will no doubt eventually want domain names. I don't think a clunky domain name like is any better than a phone number or a raw IP address.

  • by askheaves ( 207302 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:19PM (#820626)
    Maybe we're seeing a weakness in the TLD scheme in its present state. If the Internet was a United States only entity, we would be able to keep our arenas of websites seperate by their content and intent (.org, .com, .edu, .xxx, etc). It would be nearly impossible to implement this on a global scale due to the first-come-first-serve basis of registration. There would be domain name conflicts all over the place. The difference between these conflicts and the ones we currently face is that the US judicial system has a hand in things. In a worldwide battle over www."fitb".com, there is no controlling entity that can determine who 'deserves' a TLD more.

    On the flip side, to what end do we want to delineate a site by the geographic location of its server? As the world integrates its services, it shouldn't matter which country is home to the business. Or, in more extreme situations (actually, rather common), a company has offices running in different countries.

    The O'Henry twist here is that we want to delineate the net by the type of content being offered. One day, countries will go to war over a scarcity of domain names that are marketable.

  • Administrative difficulties aside, what's wrong with having for a business which only caters to that city? People are afraid to use them because 1) they don't think the laymen are used to .us, 2) they think that a 4th-level domain lacks quality and 3) they think it's hard to remember. The first and second issues I can't deal with, but would change as people adopt .us. The third I can question however. If I were to live in the US, I'd know my state and my town. Those things I know how to spell, and if more companies were to adopt this scheme, I'd know it like the back of my hand. So that leaves the company name, which since it's local doesn't have to be the overly convoluted .com name because names are not in short supply. Which would you rather have: or The difference is only a character or two when you include the down in the domain. The only problem I see here is advertising. They'd have to say the entire domain which could get cumbersome. But at least they'd know how to spell it.
  • by phutureboy ( 70690 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:22PM (#820629)
    I tried to register a '' domain about 4 or 5 years ago. The registrar for my area was/is Nametamer.

    I had a terrible experience with them. Took me months to get them to set my domain record to point to my nameservers properly. All the while they were sending me 'you must pay now' emails. I wasn't gonna pay for jack if it they weren't gonna make it work.

    Eventually they got it fixed, but by that time I had gotten frustrated and already registered a domain elsewhere.

    Keep in mind that this was a long time ago... they could have changed a lot since 1995/1996.

    The .us TLD does have cool possibilities but it seems like a couple unresponsive registrars have monopolies over big regions.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @08:41PM (#820635)
    I'll bet they could at least sell

  • I've had a .us address since 1997. In Maryland, .us domains were free, which is a Good Thing when you're in college. As I recall, that was part of the point of .us -- in an era when Network Solutions had the .com registration monopoly and charged $100 for a domain, the charter for .us explicitly called for a TLD where registration would be free or very cheap (I think $10 was mentioned as acceptable.) The implicit assumption was that .us was not very user-friendly (longer domain names, slower registration turn-around), so it would mostly be used by people to whom budget mattered more than service.

    The need for a cheap TLD has largely gone away. The major TLDs now actually have competitive registrars, which means we can get domains names with low prices *and* good service. Why not just toss .us in with the other commercial TLDs and have done with it?

    (Of course, please grandfather in those of us who already have our .us domains. :) )

  • RFC 1480. Great idea, mostly useless in practise.
    • First, my prediction: they'll eventually chose to open up the SLD to follow the UK conventions of,,
    • Second; a comparison. For some time, the registrars of the namespace tried to enforce a similar root structure of Sadly they caused suffering on a scale comparable with 1480, coming up with snappy domains like:
      all of which are rather like 1480's examples of
      • IVY.PRS.K12.NJ.US
      • DMHS.JCPS.K12.KY.US
      • OHS.EUNION.K12.CA.US
      Are any of these domains memorable (or even vaguely comprehensible)? No. Thats why 1480 and the UK NHS namespace people both fail.
    • Finally, given the abject failure of [] to prevent politicians from running a coach and four horses through RFC 2146 [] in the matter of GOP.GOV, FREEDOM.GOV and FLATTAX.GOV (see slashdot passem 1 [], 2 []) we can have little confidence that the same government will manage to do other than screw up .US
    So that would explain why the US has country code 1, because Alexander Graham Bell was... no wait a minute, Scotland has country code 44.

    And then there's the curious fact that everywhere else in the world, longitude East is positive, (as you would expect from the usual Cartesian coordinate system) and West is negative, but in US maps, West is positive.

    And your maps of the world, with the USA in the centre, which means the break has to come somewhere in India. Everyone else puts the break in the middle of the Pacific, where it doesn't matter, but that would put the USA off on the edge, can't have that ...

    And time zones, elsewhere time zones are expressed as GMT +- offset, which would make east coast USA GMT-6, but most US software expresses time zones as the offset to be added to local time to get GMT, thus making the good ol' US of A in the positives.

    Then there's your curious attachment to a system of measurement that even the stick-in-the-mud English have abandoned (hello NASA, are you listening ?)

    And don't even start me on US spelling ...... :-)


    There, I feel much better now.
  • When I first started my Omphalos [] website, I planned on using a Canadian domain - it was free, and I thought it should be easy to register.

    When I applied, I came across two problems: first, I could only get "" if I wanted to, because I was not represented by official organizations in more than one province, and second because Omphalos is not a legal entity I was told I could not apply in any case. In other words to even get an address at all I had to have some sort of legal status as an organization or something. This was complete bullshit.

    Luckily was easily obtained.

    Why would anyone go for a ultralong multidotted and impossible-to-remember national TLD which is hard to obtain, when they can get one of the top 3 so easily? (provided your choice of name is not already taken, granted).

    Before national domains become popular for Joe and Jane Average, they need to be administered in such a fashion that they can easily be obtained without having to jump through multiple hoops and meet silly requirements...

    I think I should have been able to register just as easily as

  • A host is a host
    from coast to coast.
    But no one will contact a host that's close.
    Unless the host
    that isn't close
    is busy, sunk or dead!
  • Disagree. is full of double standards. You can't register a generic name. A company I worked for had (the name of their product) rejected as being too generic. Now they are

    Unless you have clout. Then things like,,, are all your oyster. Because your name is Rupert Murdoch. Or, etc.

  • Melbourne IT actually has direct access to NSI's databases... they were one of the "first five" when it came to deregulation....
  • The US Post Office and all it's operations were turned over to the Rockefeller Foundation. And they are not a part of the U. S. government. That is why they do not go by the name "United States Post Office" anymore.

    Maybe you've been asleep, but the United States Postal Service indeed goes by that name. Have you actually gone to the post office (or lately? Their original website was, and non-government agencies don't get those. The official site was changed to due to a misprint on a huge stock of Priority Mail boxes.

    They've been back under federal subsidy for several years now.
  • It seems they're not on-line, but when I was visiting some friends in Wichita they pointed out the Friends University of Central Kansas. That's right, they were a Quaker institution. Who knows what they were thinking when they chose the name? They must have been quite contrite at the offense it gives (much like our friends at the soon-to-be-renamed [] Beaver College []).

    On the other hand, imagine the fun students could have, e.g., at football games: "Who're we cheering for?" "FUCK U.!" "What did you say?" "FUCK U.!" "I can't hear you..." et cetera, et cetera. ;)

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • Great suggestion:

    One alteration.
    The problem with this, would be that everyone who owned a .com domain, that was changed to a, would immediately snap up .com back up.

    Why? because all the links pointing to their site would be broken, and all their customers would know that URL.

    ICANN should give people 3 months warning, change .com to, then wait at least 6 months before they put .com back on the market. They should put up a site telling people to update their links, and make all presently registered .coms point at that.

    Then, companies who should be under would hopefully stay their, because by this time US comsumers would hopefully have got used to looking for companies under, rather than .com.

  • by toh ( 64283 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:23PM (#820657)
    Perhaps the US govt should sell the .us namespace to the highest bidder, based on the convenient presence of the English word "us". That toy company with the weird Cyrillic name would pay a pretty penny for starters, but there are endless possibilities in the "with" second-level alone...

    The odd thing is that I'm only half-joking.

  • Another reasonable use is for local businesses. For example, I generally don't care what bands are playing half-way 'round the globe. I care about who's coming to my home town. If there was fairly reliable adherence to the stated system of:, or even LocalClub.[music|other heading]

    Then, users would learn the system, and search engines could easily filter by region. Whatever your interest, you'd be able to locate local links more easily. Since this is not typically done, none of the small-time sites that could benefit seem interested in sticking their necks out for hard-to-remember addresses.

  • by Andrew Dvorak ( 95538 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:25PM (#820668)

    Sounds like a great opportunity for the standard and .. and *ENFORCE* it!

    • And, of course, those with trademarks could not register nor boot others from .org domains.
    • would be for those with recognized not-for-profit status
    • would be for commercial organizations and those whose registration dates predate any trademarks have priority to the domain.
    • -- hey! maybe we could rid the world of the .gov domain?! ;)
    • -- OH! an even better idea than .edu! And people *MUST* be an educational institution!
    • would be for internet providers and other public networks. These people should not have unless they demonstrate that they provide services aside from *ANYTHING* having to do with network services
    • - would be for private citizens to register their own web sites.
    • - Would be for those wishing to spread propaganda. For example, we could have a site designated for . This would make it not only easier for the MPAA to spread propaganda, but for us to identify such material!

    We must absolutely distinguish between the private and commercial realms!

  • In this case, there is not a distinction between the city and county of San Francisco. The entire area of San Francisco county is incorporated in the City of San Francisco, and they are governed by one body.
  • I heard ms is planning on a .net platform. However, if the .us TLD will be used more often they might consider a windows us version as well (seems more honest to the users) and they've already got windows me.
  • GB != UK

    GB=basically England, Scotland and Wales and is an island

    UK includes Northern Ireland and some other bits and pieces scattered around the world.


  • by Emwolb ( 160871 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2000 @02:57AM (#820680)

    Never mind all these arguments about whether someone can actually manage to have a world-wide domain. If we restrict our sphere of influence to within the US only, it's still easy to understand the popularity of .com: Unlike .us, .com is completely non-regional. The .us TLD is "locality-based": With a few official exceptions, a .us domain deliberately encodes the geographical location of its owner. (See [] for details.) If I register a domain under .us, I'm tying the domain (and my email addresses, web site, etc.) to a physical geographical location.

    This is silly. The Internet's geography is not required to be congruent with real-life geography; in fact, it often is not. The .uk TLD doesn't work this way; it's possible to get a geographically-neutral domain name within the .uk name space. Ditto for .au.

    From a purely practical standpoint, if there's even a remote possibility that I might move--say, from northern NJ to Manhattan--why would I want a domain that encodes my location? If I'm living in Manhattan, I'm probably going to feel a little silly getting my email via By contrast, if I get a .com domain, the domain name doesn't become instantly silly if I change my physical location, because the name itself doesn't reflect my physical location in the first place.

  • by Apuleius ( 6901 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:31PM (#820690) Journal
    Say I run Ed's Diner in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    And say it becomes necessary for me to set up a site with my menu and hours and the such. And I want a domain name.

    But is taken.

    And I don't want to drive people nuts with

    I could settle for
    Because for me, the Web is geographic, at
    least in this context.

    So let's hope the .us digraph becomes more
    accessible. It does have a niche it can fill.
  • The whole naming system is in a bit of a mess isn't it? But it would be a start to draw a line in the sand and say 'from now on (whenever that is) - we are going to strictly enforce correct usage of names' . The majority of the world uses national identifiers so I think the USA should come in line with the rest of the planet.

    In the UK Nominet [] is strict about who can be called a , you have to prove you are a registered charity before they'll let you be a , etc. And for sure you have to be a dot something dot uk. Whereas I notice in some countries this isn't a requirement, in the Netherlands for excample, I used to work with the Technical University at Delft - .

    ..And the American system where you choose a dot something without anybody checking if you really are a .net or a .org or a .com, (though at least .edu is looked after) but are assumed to be global... causes me a real nightmare when I find a cool tshirt on the web but when I go to order find I've got to double the price for postage and wait for six weeks before it arrives...

    Seems like people should be paying attention to some sort of standard here (Educate me, tell me what it is...).

  • Quick, where do you go and what is the procedure to register ? Or if more appropriate

    I have no idea in my case. None of the reasonable choices resolve, and just waits forever for the server. (other reasonable don't rsolve.).

    In order to be popular, it must first be possable, second, it must be easy. The place to register can't be

  • How those in the US identify with .us domain I don't know, but since it's less popular, I guess Americans don't attach the same value to .us as other countries do to theirs.

    Americans don't have a need to determine the culture or relevance. They "know" that all they have to do is type LOUDLY and s*l*o*w*l*y and they will be perfectly understood. :-)

  • Yes, you could settle for the geographic domain.

    As long as you don't need anyone to remember the URL.

    And as long as you don't need to use it with an email address on cards, since it's so long.

    And as long as you don't have to write that abomination by hand more than once a day.

    E T C .

  • And what about e-mail addresses, and domains already existing in (Colorado)? Renaming .com to isn't at all practical.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.